CNN is facing pressure on a number of fronts to drop Lou Dobbs from their roster of on-air talent, a move that would force millions of Americans seeking out news about the conspiracy to spread leprosy throughout America via illegal Mexican immigrants to turn instead to the guy who lives under the bridge by the old tire factory.
Leading the way in this effort are a coalition of organizations united under the "Drop Dobbs" banner, including Media Matters for America, the National Council of La Raza, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the New Democrat Network, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Writing for Media Matters' County Fair blog, John V. Santore sums up their beef:
For years, Lou Dobbs has been one of the most dangerous hosts on cable news. He benefits enormously from the legitimacy of the CNN brand, which provides him with an unparalleled platform from which to mainstream the hate speech and racially charged conspiracy theories normally relegated to Fox News and other conservative news outlets. Dobbs calls himself an "advocacy journalist," but he doesn't even live up to that ambiguous standard. Good journalism enhances the discussion of serious topics, but Dobbs helps to undermine and debase that discussion, routinely infusing it with misinformation and fear. And when it comes to issues like immigration, he has more in common with birther Orly Taitz than with Anderson Cooper.
If CNN won't drop Dobbs, it's time that his advertisers did. It's time to do more than simply highlight the damage Dobbs does and the threat he poses. We must demand accountability from the advertisers who, by their purchase of airtime on his shows, actively support his hate speech.
The group documents "Dobbs' History of Hate and Paranoia." [WATCH]
The action comes on the heels of Dobbs' decision to participate in a rally for a group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The Southern Poverty Law Center contends that FAIR is a "hate group":
Founded by [John] Tanton in 1979, FAIR has long been marked by anti-Latino and anti-Catholic attitudes. It has mixed this bigotry with a fondness for eugenics, the idea of breeding better humans discredited by its Nazi associations. It has accepted $1.2 million from an infamous, racist eugenics foundation. It has employed officials in key positions who are also members of white supremacist groups. Recently, it has promoted racist conspiracy theories about Mexico's secret designs on the American Southwest and an alternative theory alleging secret plans to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada. Just last February, a senior FAIR official sought "advice" from the leaders of a racist Belgian political party.
FAIR spokesperson Ira Mehlman disputed this charge in an article on HispanicBusiness.com yesterday, complaining, "Who made SPLC the arbiter of who is and is not a hate group?" and insisting, "They are going after everyone who is opposed to their point of view on this issue, trying to brand everyone as somehow beyond the pale."
But while the "Drop Dobbs" cri de coeur gains strength, it's actually running a bit behind media consumers, who have already been busy dropping Dobbs. Viewers fled CNN in August, and Lou Dobbs was one of the more noteworthy ratings albatrosses. Via Mediabistro:
Against last year's campaign coverage-heavy August, CNN saw significant decreases in total day and primetime viewership. In total day, CNN averaged 573K Total Viewers, a 13% decrease, with 162K in the demo, a 29% decrease. In primetime, CNN averaged 891K Total Viewers, a 32% decrease, with 248K in the demo, down 45%.
The biggest decreases in the demo were seen by "Lou Dobbs" (20%) and the "Situation Room" first hour (30%) and second hour (35%).
Dobbs' ratings have been on the slide all summer, and it seems that every time he indulges himself in one of his flights of paranoid fancy, the New York Observer's Felix Gillette is there to point out the net negative impact on CNN's bottom line. Back in June, Dobbs was fretting over czars, and slipping into third place for his time slot. And in July, Dobbs went all in with the Birthers, which prompted another precipitous ratings decline.
At this point, "Drop Dobbs" is basically only encouraging people to do what they've already been doing on their own, in droves.
PREVIOUSLY, on the HUFFINGTON POST:
Colbert Loses Mexico-Bashing World Record To Lou Dobbs (VIDEO)
Dobbs' Ratings Take A Hit Over "Birther" Controversy