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Presidential Candidate Links False and Inflammatory Rhetoric to Real-World Problems
Last week, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) criticized the way cable TV host Lou Dobbs and others espouse inflammatory rhetoric and misinformation about immigration during their nightly broadcasts. Speaking before a Florida crowd on May 22nd, Senator Obama said: “[a] certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There’s a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year. If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it’s not surprising that would happen.”
The respected Time journalist Joe Klein also weighed in on Dobbs’s immigration reporting recently, posting an entry to his blog that stated, “I’ve got to wonder why the network allows Lou Dobbs to continue spewing false, inflammatory nonsense under the guise of objective journalism.”
Obama and Klein’s comments followed the release of a new report by Media Matters Action Network, which documents how immigration myths are perpetuated by certain cable TV personalities. The report, “Fear and Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News,” focuses on three commentators and their sponsoring networks—Dobbs and Glenn Beck of CNN, and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News—and concludes that their shows “overflow not just with vitriol, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers’ resentment and fears, seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria.”
“It’s heartening to see Senator Oba ma speak out against the Dobbs approach to immigration reporting. He is right to call out Dobbs and Limbaugh for feeding anti-immigrant hysteria, rather than contributing constructively to the debate over immigration reform,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.
Obama’s remarks are available via:
To read the full Media Matters Action Network report, see: http://mediamattersaction.org/reports/fearandloathing/.
Joe Klein’s post is available at: http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/05/lou_demagogue.html.