Will Fox Business' Dobbs seek control of FoxNewsLatino.com?

Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

Now that Lou Dobbs is joining the Fox Birther errr Business family, I wonder if he'll try to take control of FoxNewsLatino.com -- you remember that website, right? It's the online destination that Fox News launched early this past summer in an effort to reach out to the fast growing Latino audience.

At the time, Fox News' senior vice president of news editorial Michael Clemente tried his best at spinning the fervently anti-immigrant network's latest endeavor:

Clemente said he sees little risk that a Latino audience would avoid a website backed by Fox News because of the cable TV network's conservative pundits, whose views on issues like immigration can be at odds with the Latino community.

"I don't think there'll be conflict," he said. "We will do what we always do on the news side which is to be very fair and balanced on all sides of the issue in our reporting."

Well, even if the brass at News Corp. keeps Dobbs' fingers off its Latino audience targeting website, one thing is for sure, it is only a matter of time before Dobbs jumps off the deep end with vitriolic anti-immigrant fervor.

If you've forgotten why Dobbs was problematic for CNN (and why he may be a perfect fit for Fox Business), it is worth reading the refresher after the jump.

Excerpts from a Media Matters blog post from November 12, 2009:

Dobbs repeatedly advanced false conspiracy theories about Obama's birth certificate. As Media Matters extensively documented, Dobbs suggested on his July 15, 2009, CNN show that the birth certificate Obama provided to FactCheck.org was not "the real document" and suggested on his radio show that day that it was not "the real deal." After asking if Obama should be "more forthcoming" about his birth certificate, Dobbs added: "One of our callers, by the way, pointed out that he didn't release -- he didn't release his medical records, either. Now isn't that interesting? And hasn't produced some other documents. What's the deal? What is the deal here? I'm starting to think we have a -- we have a document issue. Do you suppose he's un -- no, I won't even use the word undocumented. It wouldn't be right." On his July 21, 2009, radio show, Dobbs faulted "certain quarters of the national liberal media" for "absolutely trying to knock down the issue of President Obama's birth certificate." On his July 23, 2009, radio show, Dobbs addressed media reports on his conspiracy theories by declaring, "I do believe in a national left-wing media conspiracy in which they work in concert and attack like hell."

Dobbs used CNN to engage in wild conspiracy theories and legitimize hate groups. Dobbs' birth certificate obsession wasn't the first outrageous theory that he promoted on CNN. As Media Matters documented, Dobbs has repeatedly accused the U.S. government of secretly plotting with the governments of Mexico and Canada to merge the three countries into a "North American Union" -- a charge his own CNN colleagues labeled a "conspiracy theor[y]." Dobbs has promoted the smear that Mexican immigrants are conspiring to reclaim the U.S. Southwest for Mexico and at one point illustrated this theory by using a graphic sourced to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a hate group that "oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind." Dobbs famously aired a false report about a purported spike in leprosy cases linked to illegal immigration and repeatedly defended his show's reporting even after it had been proven wrong.

Dobbs had close ties to "hate group" FAIR. In September, Dobbs helped lead the annual "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" radio host rally organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) -- an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a "hate group." On August 28, Media Matters president Eric Burns wrote an open letter to CNN president Jonathan Klein urging him to prohibit Dobbs from participating in the FAIR event. Media Matters also documented that Dobbs used his CNN show to report on the FAIR rally without disclosing during those reports that he was helping lead it. A year earlier, Dobbs had broadcast his CNN show from the FAIR rally. In addition, the group has given Dobbs an award for "his continued efforts in leading the immigration reform movement through both his talk radio show and his television show." In the past year, Dobbs has cited FAIR as a credible source on immigration issues at least six times and has routinely failed to disclose his close association with the group.

Dobbs smeared U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as sympathetic to "Mexico's export of drugs and illegal aliens." On March 10, 2009, Dobbs criticized Obama for delivering a speech on education to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Dobbs accused Obama of "pandering to the pro-amnesty open-borders lobby" and aired a clip of a FAIR spokesman saying, "We don't want the president to make it appear as if he's favoring one particular group in the disposition of public benefits." Dobbs also said, "Making a decision to talk about a national initiative on education from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which is effectively an organization that is interested in the export of American capital and production to Mexico, and Mexico's export of drugs and illegal aliens to the United States. This is crazy stuff." On March 17, 2009, Dobbs said he "made a mistake," explaining, "I, of course, do not believe that the chamber supports or condones either drug or human trafficking. My apologies to the ... U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and I hope that they will forgive me for that misspeaking."

Report: CNN's Lou Dobbs problem and the immigration debate. In September, Media Matters released a report on the most egregious conspiracy theories, hate speech, and undisclosed conflicts of interest in Dobbs' immigration reporting. Among other things, Media Matters documented that Dobbs used his CNN show to report on and praise a Hazleton, Pennsylvania, ordinance targeting undocumented immigrants without disclosing that he had been helping to fundraise for the town's legal defense fund.

Report: "Dobbs' immigration obsession out of step with CNN's news coverage." In July, Media Matters released a report documenting the extent to which Dobbs' broadcast was consumed by the topic of immigration, and undocumented immigrants specifically. Media Matters showed that over a period of six months, Dobbs had more than three times as many broadcast hours that included briefs, segments, and panel discussions on immigration -- often focusing on undocumented immigrants -- as The Situation Room, which is three times as long as Dobbs. In word count, the difference was even starker, with Dobbs devoting about 528 words per hour to discussions of immigration -- 13 times more than The Situation Room's 40 words-per-hour average.

Report: Conservative guests outnumber progressives on Lou Dobbs Tonight. In May, Media Matters released a report documenting that in the first four months of 2009, 52 percent more Republicans and conservatives appeared as guests on Lou Dobbs Tonight than Democrats and progressives. These results were consistent with a 2006 Media Matters study on Dobbs' guest lineup.

Lou Dobbs' right-wing war on health care reform. In August, Media Matters released a report documenting Dobbs' repeated use of discredited right-wing smears about health care reform efforts, including the notions that end-of-life counseling could lead to "euthanasia" and that Obama said he "doesn't even know what's in" the House health care bill. Dobbs also touted GOP Sen. John Barrasso as "one of the leading experts on ... health care" and provided a forum for serial misinformer Betsy McCaughey to falsely claim that the economic recovery package would allow the federal government to eliminate "whatever" it deems to be "unnecessary" health care.

Dobbs declared, "Mexico has become our enemy." As Media Matters documented, Dobbs complained on his March 3, 2009, radio show that there are people "trying to control our political agendas" and "social agendas with political correctness, trying to control thought, and, of course, speech through political correctness." He added that while it may be "politically incorrect," it is "absolutely factually correct" that "Mexico has become our enemy."

CNN, Fox Business
Lou Dobbs
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