Coming from the Home of Lou Dobbs, CNN's "Latinos in America" Irks Many in Target Audience

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

El Diario/La Prensas cover for Thursday Oct. 22, 2009.

"Hypocrisy": El Diario/La Prensa's cover for Thursday Oct. 22, 2009.

Some Latinos among CNN’s audience feel the network is adding insult to injury.  This week CNN started broadcasting a four-hour special on “Latinos in America” without addressing the controversy over one of its main stars, Lou Dobbs, and his frequent statements against immigrants in general and Mexicans in particular.

Protests were held across the country to coincide with the  launch of “Latinos in America.”  One activist even tried to complain about Dobbs in an interview on CNN, but claims the network censored her.

San Antonio civil rights lawyer Isabel García told The New York Times‘ blog “Media Decoder” that the channel edited her comments out of a taped interview in which she debated with Phoenix-area Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

She said she called Mr. Arpaio and Mr. Dobbs “the two most dangerous men to our communities,” and added that “because of them, our communities are being terrorized in a real way.” She also asserted that CNN was “promoting lies and hate about our community” by broadcasting Mr. Dobbs’s program. The comments were not included when the interview was broadcast.

A CNN spokeswoman said: “The segment was tied to CNN’s documentary ’Latino in America,’ which is a far-reaching look at the successes and challenges Latinos are facing — including illegal immigration. As with all pretaped interviews, they are edited for time and relevance to the topic of discussion. The debate between Isabel Garcia and Joe Arpaio was no exception.”

In Manhattan, activists picketed the CNN offices at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

“The most dangerous thing about Lou Dobbs is that he uses his show as a platform to promote the most extreme, most anti-Latino, most anti-immigrant groups,” said Roberto Lovato, whose behind the BastaDobbs.com campaign, according to NY1.com.

(A producer from Dobbs’ show invited Lovato to appear on it, but he declined.)

“The protests, the pressure on CNN and its parent company Time Warner, will continue unless Lou Dobbs leaves CNN,” wrote Angelo Falcón, the president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, on Spanish-language newspaper site Impre.com.

Dobbs, Falcón wrote, “gives the impression of simply transmitting the news when in fact he is slanting all the information he presents to his anti-Latino views.

“One would think that CNN, as an international news organization, would not tolerate this undermining of journalistic integrity. But it seems the only thing that matters to them is their finances, even to the detriment of their mission. And now, with their ‘Latinos in America’ series, they want to attract more Latino viewers. Our community says to them: ‘You can’t have it both ways!'”

Other protests took place in San Antonio, Boston and a dozen other cities, according to BastaDobbs.

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