Lou Dobbs has recently pushed a number of the same right-wing narratives that have been aggressively championed by Glenn Beck, has defended Beck's remarks, and has praised his reporting. In recent weeks, Dobbs -- like Beck -- has called for a “rigorous investigation” of ACORN and said that unless there is a “full-blown FBI investigation,” then it will amount to “a sham” ; has pushed the conservative attack that the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is “politicizing the arts” ; has decried as “propaganda” a documentary video; and has defended Beck's comments that Obama is a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred for white people.”
Like Beck, Dobbs decried “sham,” called for “rigorous investigation” into ACORN
Dobbs: Investigation of ACORN “a sham” without “absolutely righteous, vigorous investigation.” During the September 22 broadcast of his radio show, Dobbs referred to ACORN's decision to appoint former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger to lead an internal inquiry into the organization as “such a sham” and called for “a full, and, I mean, absolutely righteous, vigorous, investigation of everyone running that organization, everything it's tried to do,” and “its relationship to the Obama administration.” Dobbs added: “I truly believe, unless there is that full-blown FBI investigation that you've asked for of ACORN, that -- you know, that is, to me, prima facie evidence that this Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, has been absolutely politicized to the point that it is not functioning and serving the interests of the American people or this country.” Dobbs later claimed that “this Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't want ACORN investigated because that is tantamount to investigating a good chunk of the Democratic Party, and, particularly left-wing activists that are working daily with the ACORN organization and their various tentacles that reach across American society, our electoral and political system.” [United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show, 9/22/09]
Beck: Without “full independent rigorous investigation” of ACORN, “it's all going to be a sham.” During the September 15 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated: “While the government is going to make speeches and throw you a bone of cutting off funding -- you know, we're going to cut off funding. Really? Until the Republicans and the Democrats rise together and demand a full independent rigorous investigation that doesn't concentrate just on the local level and these few dirtbags, but goes all the way to the top, to the power brokers at the highest levels of ACORN, and in our own halls of Congress, and this administration, it's all going to be a sham. You won't be able to trust anything in Washington.” [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 9/15/09]
Like Beck, Dobbs reported NEA pushing artists to adopt White House “political agenda”
Dobbs cited “concerns” that “the Obama administration may be politicizing the arts.” On September 22, Dobbs stated: “New concerns tonight that the Obama administration may be politicizing the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts encouraging groups to produce art work promoting the president's agenda -- that, according to Senator John Cornyn. Senator Cornyn, in a letter to the president, detailed concerns of a California artist who said that an NEA conference call encouraged artists to focus works on issues such as health care, education, and the environment, promoting the White House political agenda.” [CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, 9/22/09]
Beck: NEA “is creating a propaganda machine for the president of the United States.” Artist Patrick Courrielche claimed in an August 25 post at conservative activist and Drudge protégé Andrew Breitbart's BigHollywood.com that in an August 10 conference call “hosted by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and United We Serve,” artists “were encouraged to bring the same sense of enthusiasm to” issues such as health care, energy, and the environment “as we had brought to Obama's presidential campaign, and we were encouraged to create art and art initiatives that brought awareness to these issues.” Subsequently, Beck promoted and helped to distribute the allegations, interviewing Courrielche on September 1 and claiming that the “people involved in a conference call, including the White House, knew that this was on the fence, if not outright illegal. They knew for sure that this would outrage you if it would ever get out.” On September 2, Beck again promoted the allegations and said that then-NEA spokesman Yosi Sergant “is creating a propaganda machine for the president of the United States and that is wrong.”
Like Beck, Dobbs decried “propaganda” over Leonard educational video
Dobbs: Leonard video is “more evidence of left-wing propaganda in our schools.” On September 22, Dobbs stated: “Well, more evidence of left-wing propaganda in our schools: An outrageous new video has surfaced -- this video being shown in classrooms all across the country. It is The Story of Stuff, as it's called, blatantly making false accusations against capitalism and the effects of human consumption on the environment.” After showing a portion of Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff, Dobbs said: “Well, the video is the brainchild of Annie Leonard, a former Greenpeace member, self-described unapologetic activist. Millions more have seen this video on the Internet, but it is obviously full of, at the very least, half-truths, distortions, and, without question, a straightforward propaganda message. Well, that's what's happening in your schools.” [Lou Dobbs Tonight, 9/22/09]
Beck on Leonard video: “Are we not engaging in anti-American, anti-capitalism propaganda now in our schools?” On September 22, Beck asked: "[A]re we not engaging in anti-American, anti-capitalism propaganda now in our schools?" After airing an excerpt from The Story of Stuff, Beck stated: “Stop! It is not the job of the government to watch out for us and to take care of us. It is not the government's job.” [The Glenn Beck Program, 9/22/09]
Dobbs defended Beck against criticism for claiming that Obama is a “racist”
Dobbs: Beck “had the guts to say what he meant” ; Color of Change attacking Beck because he “said some things that [they] didn't like.” On September 8, Dobbs asserted: “See, it was Van Jones' group that went and got the bright idea to go after [Becks'] sponsors because Glenn Beck said some things that he didn't like. Isn't that impressive? And I didn't hear -- I didn't hear Howard Dean get excited about that, trampling all over the First Amendment trying to coerce sponsors of Glenn Beck just because he had the guts to say what he meant. You know, there's a shortage of that. That ought to be encouraged.” Dobbs continued: “You know, Arthur Laffer is the guy who said we should be taxing what we don't want in this society and subsidizing that which we do. And there's Van Jones saying, 'Well, you know, you said something I don't like, so what are we gonna do? We'll just attack your sponsors.' That didn't work out so shiny for him, did it? So, by the way, I gotta say hats off to Glenn Beck for having the guts to stand up to this -- this morass of mediocrity and pure, pure ideology.” [The Lou Dobbs Show, 9/08/09]
Color of Change's campaign followed Beck's claim that Obama is a “racist.” Beck asserted on Fox News that Obama is a “racist” and “has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” He subsequently defended his comments on his radio show.
Dobbs touted Beck for covering Van Jones
Dobbs: “Beck and Fox had the guts to stand up when Van Jones' outfit ... went after him.”
From the September 8 edition of United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show:
L. BRENT BOZELL III (Media Research Center president): This man is a radical's radical. This guy is about as far left as you can possibly get, and the fact that the truth about him comes out and the media decides that it's just not important. And he's one of the more powerful people -- he's in charge of all the green jobs that the Obama administration is going to create through the stimulus package. This is a very powerful czar that Obama had created.
BOZELL: And nothing -- nothing from CBS, nothing from ABC, nothing from C -- CB -- NBC, nothing from The New York Times, nothing from The Washington Post, nothing from the LA Times -- a complete blanket from the American people.
DOBBS: Yeah, it's stunning. And much -- you know, I was talking with Michael Barone. And he was talking about, well, Fox and Glenn Beck, you know, they really used a tool that wasn't available to, you know, a very important weapon here that wasn't available to a lot of people -- the weapon called Google.
BOZELL: Yeah. Yes, that's absolutely right. You know, the world has changed so dramatically. First of all, you can't keep -- you can't keep the toothpaste in the jar anymore. When the genie is out of the bottle, the genie's out of the bottle, and you can't put the thing back in. When the truth comes out about somebody, because of the Internet and because of you folks on talk radio, the truth is going to come out.
And the media for years and years have enjoyed -- had enjoyed a monopoly on information. They don't enjoy it anymore. Look at the fact that the man was forced to resign and yet nobody covered it. So how did America know about this? Why did it become such an issue? It became an issue because of the Internet and talk radio.
DOBBS: Yeah, and also it became an issue because Beck and Fox had the guts to stand up when Van Jones' outfit, excuse me, went after him.
BOZELL: No question about it at all. They started it. Glenn Beck started it. But, you know, here is the other interesting thing. Again, if you look at the coverage of it, CNN covered this story on Friday; it was the first time CNN covered it.
DOBBS: No, no, no. My show was covering it earlier.
BOZELL: I'm sorry, I stand corrected. I'm talking about Anderson Cooper. I'm sorry.
DOBBS: Oh yeah, but my show, which is also part of CNN, covered it. [The Lou Dobbs Show, 9/8/09]
Beck's reporting on Jones consisted of repeated smears. Media Matters for America has documented that Beck has made numerous incendiary statements about Jones, including falsely accusing him of being a “convicted felon” and asserting that he is a “Communist” among Obama's “radical advisers” who are “fighting a revolution.”
Dobbs has previously taken cues from Fox News
Like Fox, Dobbs misled to fearmonger about czars. Dobbs previously incorrectly claimed on his CNN program that prior to the Obama administration, “the highest number of czars that we were able to document in our own reporting ... was during the Clinton administration, and he had only 10 czars.” But according to The Washington Post, former President Bush “had 36 czar positions filled by 46 people during his eight years as president.” Fox News has made similar false claims to advance its witch hunt against Obama administration czars, identifying “30 czars” and asserting that “czars are not subjected to congressional oversight,” when in fact many of the Obama administration officials the network has labeled “czars” have been confirmed by the Senate, were appointed to positions created through legislation passed by Congress, or had counterparts during the Bush administration.
From the September 22 broadcast of The Lou Dobbs Show:
REP. LAMAR SMITH (R-TX): You mentioned the so-called independent auditor that ACORN has brought in. Well, all an auditor does is check the books --
SMITH: -- an auditor does not look at criminal activity. And so, by bringing the auditor in, they're trying to give the impression that they're cleaning up their act but the auditor can't do anything about the crimes. That's why we need the FBI to investigate, and that's why an auditor is totally insufficient. And, by the way, I assume that the auditor would be sincere in his aim to try to ferret out any corruption on the economic -- financial side --
DOBBS: You know, Congressman, this is where I say, well, why would you assume that?
SMITH: Well, he is a former Democratic activist from Massachusetts and that's why I say, he's going to -- frankly, he needs to prove himself if he's going to be the one conducting the audit. But, again, I --
DOBBS: Well, I --
SMITH: -- that doesn't get to the real problem and that's the criminal -- possible criminal activity.
DOBBS: I don't know whether you want to say this, but I'm going to say it and then ask for whether or not you agree with it.
DOBBS: I believe that that is just such a sham, that it's a waste of everybody's time -- the money that's in that organization -- and that there should be a full, and, I mean, absolutely righteous, vigorous, investigation of everyone running that organization, everything it's tried to do --
DOBBS: -- its relationship to the Obama administration, and I truly believe, unless there is that full-blown FBI investigation that you've asked for of ACORN, that -- you know, that is, to me, prima facie evidence that this Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, has been absolutely politicized to the point that it is not functioning and serving the interests of the American people or this country.
DOBBS: I honestly cannot imagine how Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, could possibly do anything but order a full investigation of ACORN. And the fact is, but don't doubt this for a minute, this Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't want ACORN investigated because that is tantamount to investigating a good chunk of the Democratic Party, and, particularly left-wing activists that are working daily with the ACORN organization and their various tentacles that reach across American society, our electoral and political system.