So no surprise that the Times tried to push the Lou Dobbs leprosy controversy thread. (You’ll recall Dobbs claimed there were 7,000 cases of leprosy in the U.S. in the past three years; there were 7,000 cases of leprosy in the last 30. When confronted with the error by 60 Minutes, Dobbs denied he got anything wrong.)
A talk show host bloviating? Shocking. But the Southern Poverty Law Center took out advertisements in the New York Times and USA Today demanding CNN run a correction. They haven’t.
Dobbs has engaged in quite a bit of SPLC baiting. But Dobbs’ baiting with “untruths,” the Times says, has painted CNN and its “trusted” tagline into a tight corner:
The most common complaint about him, at least from other journalists, is that his program combines factual reporting with editorializing. But I think this misses the point. Americans, as a rule, are smart enough to handle a program that mixes opinion and facts. The problem with Mr. Dobbs is that he mixes opinion and untruths. He is the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans. … More to the point, if Mr. Dobbs’s arguments were really so good, don’t you think he would be able to stick to the facts? And if CNN were serious about being “the most trusted name in news,” as it claims to be, don’t you think it would be big enough to issue an actual correction?