"Mr. Independent" Dobbs repeatedly smears Obama, progressives as "socialist"

››› ››› LILY YAN

CNN's Lou Dobbs has touted himself as politically "independent," and CNN president Jonathan Klein has reportedly referred to Dobbs' CNN show as "a relatively straight newscast." But echoing others in the conservative media, Dobbs has repeatedly used his radio and CNN programs to attack President Obama and other progressives, claiming or suggesting that they or their policies are "socialist," "fascist" or "un-American."

Dobbs touts himself as "Mr. Independent" on radio and TV

CNN announcer introduces Dobbs as "Mr. Independent." At the beginning of his television show, Dobbs is frequently introduced with: "Here again, Mr. Independent, Lou Dobbs."

Dobbs' CNN website brands him as "Independent."

dobbsindependent1

[From Dobbs' CNN website, accessed 8/6/09]

Dobbs' radio show website refers to Dobbs as "Mr. Independent" and his show as "Independent Nation."

indienation

[From Dobbs' radio website, accessed 8/6/09]

Dobbs' radio show bio: Dobbs is "a true independent voice ... occupying the vital middle ground between the conservative and liberal voices."

Lou Dobbs is the Independent voice in today's largely liberal mainstream media coverage. And his Independent message is hitting the hearts of American's everywhere.

[...]

He brings a true independent voice to Talk Radio, occupying the vital middle ground between the conservative and liberal voices that dominate much of the segment today. [From Dobbs' radio website, accessed 8/6/09]

CNN's Klein has reportedly called Dobbs' TV show "a relatively straight newscast"

Klein reportedly said that "Dobbs has been doing a relatively straight newscast" since the 2008 election. As Media Matters for America has noted, in an August 1 article headlined, "Lou Dobbs challenges his own network," the Associated Press reported that Klein said that, in the AP's words, since the 2008 elections, "Dobbs has been doing a relatively straight newscast."

Klein reportedly said, "If you watch Lou's show, he's doing more of a straight newscast than he's ever done before." According to an April 26 New York Times article, "Mr. Klein conceded that Mr. Dobbs, who has been an outspoken advocate against illegal immigration, is the most opinionated anchor on CNN 'by a mile.' " (Media Matters documented Klein ignoring that Dobbs is often wrong, advancing falsehoods, as well as distortions, of CNN's other reporting.) The Times further reported that "Mr. Klein also said that the network was trying to adjust the format. 'If you watch Lou's show, he's doing more of a straight newscast than he's ever done before.' "

Klein's claim that Dobbs' radio show is "separate and apart" from his CNN show is undermined by facts -- and Klein himself. As Media Matters has noted, Klein's assertion that Dobbs' radio show is "separate and apart" from his television show is undermined by the fact that Dobbs has used his CNN show to promote his radio birther coverage, and his radio show to promote his CNN birther coverage. Additionally, Dobbs regularly uses his CNN show to promote his radio show, Dobbs' radio syndicator touts his CNN affiliation, and Dobbs frequently hosts CNN colleagues on his radio show. Moreover, Klein himself has said that Dobbs' decisions about his CNN show are "inform[ed]" by his radio show.

Dobbs has compared Obama, progressive policies to "Soviet-style government," "socialism"

Dobbs' onscreen text on CNN asks if "Obama's Healthcare plan" is "class warfare."

From the July 17 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight:

classwarfare

Dobbs asserted that passing stimulus and energy bills without reading them is reminiscent of "Stalinist or Soviet-style government." Discussing representatives who passed the stimulus and Waxman-Markey bills without reading them, Dobbs said: "We just like to see that -- if there's anything happening in this country right now that doesn't more closely resemble that of a Stalinist or Soviet-style government."

From the June 29 broadcast of United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show:

CALLER: Here's what I hope that they will do during this recess week. When members of Congress and senators are home, contact them at home -- where their district office, their state office -- and demand that they sign this pledge.

DOBBS: Yeah, I -- you know, I -- good luck getting contact or acknowledgement that they even exist, or that you and I as voters exist. I'll take any one of the above. We appreciate you being here and wish you all the best. It is -- give us that website one more time.

CALLER: Pledgetoread.com.

DOBBS: Absolutely. Pledgetoread.com. And I want to hear from all of the -- I always talk about this audience being so smart. We want to hear from you if you do actually contact one of your congressmen and actually get them to acknowledge your existence, because we just like to see that -- if there's anything happening in this country right now that doesn't more closely resemble that of a Stalinist or Soviet-style government. So let us know if you have anything that would disturb that particular emotion right now.

Dobbs discussed "Pravda" article about "the American descent to Marxism." On June 3, Dobbs falsely suggested an April 27 opinion piece attacking Obama was the product of the Russian newspaper, Pravda, saying: "A recent opinion column in Russia's Pravda said, because of the president's policies, quote, 'the American descent to Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed.' " In fact, the piece, written by blogger Stanislav Mishin, was published on the Russian website, PRAVDA On-line, a separate media outlet that routinely features sensationalistic stories.

From the June 3 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: President Obama under fire tonight from Venezuela's anti-American President Hugo Chavez. Chavez saying President Obama is taking the United States down the road to socialism and saying Obama's handling of General Motors could make him and Cuba's Fidel Castro look relatively conservative. Chavez said, quote, "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his right."

A recent opinion column in Russia's Pravda said, because of the president's policies, quote, "the American descent to Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed."

While discussing Obama's stimulus plan, Dobbs stated that "[s]ocialism has arrived in the first three months of this year, folks." Citing an "amazing stat," which he said demonstrated that "when we talk about socialism, we're not just a-woofing, as the saying goes," Dobbs said on his radio show, "For the first time in the history of the United States, the federal government has supplanted sales, property, and income taxes at the state level as the biggest source of money for state and local governments." He later added: "[S]o socialism has arrived in the first three months of this year, folks, and it is -- well, it is what it is, and it's not going to change, I'm afraid, for a little while."

From the May 5 broadcast of The Lou Dobbs Show:

DOBBS: Here's an amazing stat for you: For the first time, when we talk about socialism, we're not just a-woofing, as the saying goes. For the first time in the history of the United States, the federal government has supplanted sales, property, and income taxes at the state level as the biggest source of money for state and local governments.

Let me say that again: more money than sales taxes, property taxes, and income taxes at the state level. There's more money being put into each state in this country by the federal government than any other source of revenue. Is that amazing?

The sales tax had been the number one source of state and local revenue since the mid-1970s. Before that, property taxes had been the primary source. That changed in the first three months of this year -- that early stimulus money, plus conventional federal aid.

By the way, did you spend that stimulus money? Are you putting it aside? Are you saving up for a rainy day? What are you doing with your stimulus money, 'cause Barack Obama wants to know. We've gotta -- we gotta know what's going on with the stimulus money, because this economy is dependent on that stimulus money. Remember that. Nothing happens without stimulus. No stimulus, no economy, no nothing.

But, anyway, so socialism has arrived in the first three months of this year, folks, and it is -- well, it is what it is, and it's not going to change, I'm afraid, for a little while.

Dobbs: Cabinet secretaries are "acting like commissars in the old Soviet Union." On the April 16 broadcast of his radio show, Dobbs said cabinet secretaries "are acting like commissars in the old Soviet Union," adding that "it's time for them to get rolled back" because "[t]his is America, and it's not some fascist state."

Dobbs: Obama's policies are "raising new concerns about what many are calling a socialist revolution in prospect -- some say even a risk of totalitarianism." On the March 31 edition of his CNN show, Dobbs claimed Obama policies are "raising new concerns about what many are calling a socialist revolution in prospect -- some say even a risk of totalitarianism." Dobbs made this assertion while displaying onscreen text reading: "Socialist Revolution":

socialist

Dobbs: America is "moving toward a combination of corporate power and political power" that is "disturbingly similar to what we witnessed in Italy in the 1930s." Later on his March 31 CNN show, referring to the Pay for Performance Act, which "would tie pay to performance at companies that have received direct capital investments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program," Dobbs said: "We are moving toward a combination of corporate power and political power that is so disturbingly similar to what we witnessed in Italy in the 1930s, and it's not funny."

Dobbs stated that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez's "little love affair with his fellow socialist Barack Obama didn't last long." On the March 24 broadcast of his radio show, Dobbs said of Chavez, "Guess what? That little love affair with his fellow socialist Barack Obama didn't last long." He later added: "It didn't take long for that little love affair to end, did it? Oh, my goodness."

Contrary to "Independent" branding, Dobbs follows conservative media in advancing smears

Conservatives in media warn of social-fasc-commun-Nazi-McCarthy-Marxism. Since January, Media Matters has documented numerous examples of conservatives in the media warning of socialism, fascism, communism, Nazism, McCarthyism, and Marxism, or using such language to describe President Obama or other Democrats.

Dobbs smears progressive voices as "Orwellian," "fascist," and "un-American"

While claiming Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was "being attacked," Dobbs stated that "this feels like either brave new world Orwellian" or "Stalin has secretly been resurrected." On his CNN show on March 13, while claiming that Arpaio was "being attacked by four left-wing congresspeople who have an obvious agenda here," Dobbs concluded: "I swear to you, this feels like either Brave New World Orwellian, or you know, absolutely Joseph Stalin has secretly been resurrected."

From the March 13 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: You know, you're sitting here with a community -- Phoenix -- which is at the heart of Maricopa County, Congressman, as you well know. You represent Phoenix as well as Maricopa County. It's in your district. It's become the kidnapping capital of the country, and the violence is accelerating.

The issue of human smuggling, drug smuggling -- Arizona one of the principal corridors. This sheriff is the most prominent and the most effective local official in the battle against illegal drugs, illegal immigration, trying to bring order, and he's being attacked by four left-wing congresspeople who have an obvious agenda here, and there's not been a peep being made. I mean, this is -- I swear to you, this feels like either Brave New World Orwellian, or you know, absolutely Joseph Stalin has secretly been resurrected.

Dobbs claimed "fascist liberal voices" are "the only sound" on college campuses, said campuses are "a little fascist, really, and a little un-American." On March 13 on CNN, Dobbs interviewed a documentary director on "why it seems extraordinarily liberal, but fascist liberal voices are being allowed as the only sound" on college campuses. In teasing the segment, Dobbs referred to "those so-called university campuses" as "a little fascist, really, and a little un-American."

From the March 11 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: Up next, free speech is being stifled in a place you would expect freedom of expression to be welcomed. We'll be talking with the director of a documentary on, well, those so-called university campuses that are a little fascist, really, and a little un-American.

[...]

DOBBS: Up next, the battle over free speech on our college campuses and why it seems extraordinarily liberal, but fascist liberal voices are being allowed as the only sound on those campuses. I'll be talking with the director of a provocative documentary on this very important topic next.

[...]

DOBBS: Something that you illustrated -- and I can't remember the name of the young man. I believe it was at Cal Poly. I mean, this young man was hounded for absolutely nothing, but putting up a poster of the title of a book, which -- by the way, you did a remarkable job with whatever the title of that bureaucratic moron was, as you were trying to talk with the president of the school. He was hounded for months.

MALONEY: Eighteen months -- 18 months of his life. It had to go to federal court just for hanging a flyer announcing a speaker who was coming to talk about his book.

DOBBS: He recovered the legal fees. He -- I know that. Did he ever get an apology from the institution?

MALONEY: No, he never did. And that was part of the legal settlement. The school never wants to admit that they were wrong. I mean, it's plain to you and me that they were wrong, but --

DOBBS: What is the full name of the school?

MALONEY: That's Cal Poly, California Polytechnic. And it's a public university, so the taxpayers of California ended up footing the bill for his legal fees.

DOBBS: Let me say this to Cal Polytechnic, to the president -- who apparently never would talk with you. I just want to say something to that president.

You, sir, are a coward and a fool, and, as far as I'm concerned, just this side of a fascist. But the cowardly foolishness is the part that really should bother you, because you run a university with impressionable young minds, as you document so well, and minds that are growing and should have a number of voices, a diversity of ideas, as you point out in your terrific documentary on -- in the marketplace of ideas. I mean, how can institutions justify this kind of behavior?

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
Network/Outlet
CNN, United Stations Radio Networks
Person
Lou Dobbs
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight, The Lou Dobbs Show
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