The front page of the Spanish-language newspaper El Diario featured an image of the CNN anchor Lou Dobbs last Thursday with a red line slashed through his face under the headline “Hipocresia.” Speaking at a luncheon on Friday sponsored by El Diario, Fox News reporter Geraldo Rivera held the newspaper in front of the crowd as he launched into a critique of the embattled personality at the center of CNN’s primetime lineup. As CNN premiered its four-hour documentary “Latino in America” last week, hispanic organizations as well as high-profile members of CNN’s rival Fox News took the broadcast as an opportunity to attack Dobbs–and, by extension, CNN–for his controversial views on immigration.
The upstart website BastaDobbs.com (“Drop Dobbs”) has been promoting a video titled “CNN: Lou Dobbs or Latinos in America?” that compiles comments that Dobbs has made about illegal immigrants in an effort to bring attention to a situation in which, according to the website, “Lou Dobbs uses his platform on CNN to spread myths and misinformation about Latinos and immigrants, even as his network is wooing Latino viewers.”
Rivera echoed this sentiment during his speech at the El Diario event and went on to declare that “Lou Dobbs is almost single-handedly responsible for creating, for being the architect of, the young Latino as scapegoat for everything that ails this country.”
Many in the industry have speculated that Fox’s recent high-profile hiring spree at the Fox Business Network would include Dobbs. A deal doesn’t appear to be close to judge by the recent media skirmish that Fox Business’s newest correspondent John Stossel has engaged in with Dobbs. In an interview with Glenn Beck, Stossel mentioned that he doesn’t subscribe to “the Lou Dobbs kind of rants about immigrants wrecking America.” Dobbs took offense and lashed out at Stossel and Fox News during his radio show on Thursday, calling Stossel “a silly little trick.”
The controversy has hit close to home at CNN as The New York Times reports that a hispanic civil rights lawyer who was interviewed for “Latino in America” appeared on “Anderson Cooper 360” and said, during a taped interview, that CNN was “promoting lies and hate about our community.” The comments were apparently edited out of the show’s broadcast. What may matter most, though, to the network is that the highly publicized documentary was a relative ratings bust, drawing significantly less viewers than CNN’s two previous “Black in America” specials.