I once went to see Lou Dobbs speak at a book signing. Ok, so really I went there because I heard about a protest at the Lou Dobbs book signing. The protest (in which i did not participate) was civil and for the most part kept outside the Barnes & Noble Bookstore where he was appearing. Who showed up to actually hear him speak quickly became more fascinating. All the local racists seemed to have crawled out of their mothers’ basements for Lou Dobbs night. There were the eager beaver minutemen (and women) front and center. The slightly gothic racists skulking in the back. And of course the shrieking, foaming at the mouth fan who got fed up with Lou’s dilly dallying and started screaming, “They’re not white! They’re not the same! They’re not one of us!” over and over again. And I’m not kidding, this guy was literally foaming.
Lou was fairly polished that night, he only flipped out once or twice. Of course, it was directed to the soft-spoken pastor who dared to mention humanitarian issues, not the foaming racist.
It could have been a cult gathering or a Brangelina sighting from where I was sitting. I couldn’t figure out what was creepier, Lou’s pitch-perfect Dick Clark-wannabe charm, or the strange assortment of bigots staring up at him in adoration. The funny thing was, Dobbs didn’t seem the least bit concerned. I mean these were the types of toxic personalities most of us spend a lifetime avoiding, and Lou Dobbs looked right at home.
That night was a wake up call for me. Up until then I’d taken Dobbs for just another shock jock. I’d always heard just enough to know he didn’t suit me, but apparently his fan club that night had listened more carefully.
They were listening back in 2005 when Dobbs began broadcasting a false and vicious rumor, that immigrants were spreading Leprosy in the United States, and in 2006 when he sourced a white supremacist group, Council for Conservative Citizens. Despite being proven false by expert after expert, Dobbs still stubbornly refused to retract his claims. They were listening when he started touting a conspiracy theory about a North American Union that fed right into the agenda of white militia groups currently enjoying a resurgence.
But a lot of other people have been paying attention too. Recently Dobbs became the Birther that broke the camel’s back. After repeatedly insinuating that President Obama was not a citizen, over 20,000 people have signed a letter to Jon Klein, CNN President, demanding that Dobbs be dropped from CNN.
This hasn’t stopped Lou from teaming up with his old friends at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) for their annual nativist fest. This week, amid all the criticism, Lou Dobbs is going to once again promote FAIR at its anti-immigrant rally in Washington DC. FAIR has long been designated a hate group by civil rights organizations.
Rather than addressing the concerns of the public, Dobbs is continuing to pander to his politically extreme viewers. Attending FAIR’s event is absolutely unacceptable for any radio or talk show host, especially one from CNN. If it wasn’t clear before, it is now, Lou Dobbs should be kicked out of the broadcasting business.