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Dobbs’ Ratings Dive, Public is Weary of the ‘Act’ on Immigration, Ready for Action

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 06/10/2009 at 5:50pm

Dobbs freefallToday the New York Observer reported that Lou Dobbs‘ ratings have taken a severe nose dive. Plummeting over 30% this past year, Dobb’s ratings have left many speculating about the cause.

Salon.com ran with the cheeky headline, “Lou Dobbs needs to fence in his audience:”

Apparently accusing immigrants of spreading leprosy and alienating Hispanics just doesn’t make for good TV like it used to. The New York Observer reports
that the ratings for Lou Dobbs’ nightly show on CNN have dropped nearly
30 percent over the past year. On average, just 657,000 people are
watching Dobbs each night. The show now ranks third in its 7 p.m. time
slot behind Fox News’ Shepard Smith and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

Media Matters’ Karl Frisch asks the pressing question, “Who will Lou Dobbs blame for sharp ratings drop?” Media Matters has long tracked Dobbs’ and other right-wing anchors’ biased reporting on the immigration issue. They’ve documented their tendency to blame all matter of societal ills (however unrelated) on immigrants and illegal immigration.

The New York Observer reports:

…in November
2007, Mr. Dobbs was ascendant. Immigration was the hot-button issue in
cable news. And Mr. Dobbs’ show, with its heavy dose of heartland
heartburn and populist outrage, owned it. Viking Press was on the verge
of publishing Mr. Dobbs’ fourth book, Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit,
and for weeks, everywhere you looked, there was Mr. Dobbs on an
extended media tour, thundering against big business, amnesty advocates
and Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give driver’s licenses to undocumented
immigrants. Rumor had it that Mr. Dobbs was even considering a
third-party run for president.

So what happened?

I don’t know if it’s true in Dobbs’ case, but sometimes people just tire of acts,” writer Ken Auletta ventured to The Observer recently.

Whether or not Dobbs’ over-the-top “reporting” is a ratings act, recent public opinion research shows that Dobbs’ deportation-only approach to immigration just doesn’t fly for most Americans, who want to see solutions that are fair and realistic. An overwhelming majority want a practical solution to our current immigration mess. But most importantly, and perhaps most overlooked, is that the public is sick and tired of all the demagoguery and delay and ready for real action on immigration.

Kos, founder of the progressive political website Daily Kos, put it this way:

Earlier today we saw polling
by Beneson Strategy Group on immigration showing dominant support for
comprehensive immigration reform. The results seemed counter-intuitive
— how could support for immigration reform be increasing in a down economy? Conventional wisdom suggests that anti-immigrant sentiment increases when times are tough. So what gives?

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