Race Baiting 101

30 July 2009 at 12:42 pm (Campaigns, News, Politics, Why Is This News?, World Issues) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


I got this in an email this morning and I wanted to pass it along:

***

Lou Dobbs is using his platform on CNN to revive paranoid conspiracy theories about whether President Obama was born in the U.S.1 While the question was put to rest long ago, Dobbs is pretending that this extremist nonsense is a legitimate national conversation.

Intentionally or not, he is stoking the fires of racial fear and paranoia in the same way that the McCain/Palin campaign did when they cast Obama as “not one of us.”2 Even after being called on this, Dobbs refuses to stop.

CNN, which is held in high regard by many Americans and describes itself as the “the most trusted name in news,” is allowing one of its hosts to give legitimacy to debunked, racist conspiracy theories.

Please join us in calling on CNN to dump Dobbs, and ask your friends and family to do the same:

http://www.colorofchange.org/dobbs/?id=2069-290706

For more than a year, folks on the far right have been claiming that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen; that he was born in Kenya, and as a result can’t be president3. This theory has been repeatedly debunked. Not only has the state of Hawaii provided a birth certificate to media organizations several times, there were also birth announcements in two separate Hawaii papers when Obama was born in 1961–for most reasonable people, that would remove any doubt.

Members of Dobbs’ own staff have said they’re uncomfortable with his insistence on pursuing this story4, but Dobbs insists on claiming there must be something to it because, “Obama refuses to produce the long-form of his birth certificate.” Other news outlets have refused to give the idea any credence. The head of MSNBC, Phil Griffin, had this to say about the claim: “It’s racist. It’s racist. Just call it for what it is.”5

Dobbs and race

Lou Dobbs has a history of attacking immigrants by spouting hateful rhetoric and lies. He once claimed that “the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans” through “deadly imports” of diseases like leprosy and malaria.6 This kind of rhetoric feeds anti-immigrant hate, the kind of hate that leads to horrors like the beating death of Luis Ramirez in Pennsylvania and the shooting death of nine-year old Brisenia Flores in Arizona earlier this year. Dobbs’ rhetoric has led organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to call on CNN to reign in Dobbs in the past.7

Now, Dobbs is going after President Obama by giving voice to the same kind of xenophobic rhetoric, stoking the deep-seated fears of angry right-wing extremists who, as CNN analyst Roland Martin has said, can’t accept the fact that their president is Black8.

Dobbs may not like Obama, but it’s a real problem for him to use his powerful position as a moderator of discussion about the news to validate a dangerous falsehood that’s rooted in racism.

Several watchdog groups have demanded action on the part of CNN. The head of the SPLC wrote CNN last week asking that they fire Dobbs based on his recent actions9. Media Matters and others have launched efforts to hold CNN accountable as well.10

CNN has the opportunity to live up to its description of itself as the most trusted cable news network. Or it can ignore the problem of Lou Dobbs and communicate something very different: that delivering real news and analysis is not its top priority, and that legitimizing extremist propaganda is an acceptable part of doing business.

Join us in calling on Jon Klein, the president of CNN, to take Dobbs off the air:

http://www.colorofchange.org/dobbs/?id=2069-290706

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1 Comment

  1. Jack said,

    The time lines, places, actions, motives, when analyzed, support, and are consistent with, what is the answer to the Obama birth puzzle:

    Obama’s grandmother is his mother and his mother is his sister.

    Think about it. Review all the facts and claims.

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