Washington, DC-In the wake of a scheduled appearance by CNN personality Lou Dobbs at a rally hosted by an anti-immigrant hate group, NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today joined a coalition www.DropDobbs.com of organizations including Media Matters for America, Center for Community Change, Center for New Community, Dolores Huerta Foundation, The Hispanic Institute, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National Puerto Rican Coalition, NDN, Southern Poverty Law Center and America's Voice in calling on U.S. corporations to drop their advertising from his show until he and CNN disassociates themselves from the group.
Dobbs will lead a group of broadcasters at a rally in Washington targeting Congress called "Hold Their Feet to the Fire," hosted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group that has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group. As extensively documented in recent years, the Southern Poverty Law Center states that:
"While Lou Dobbs, as a private citizen, has every right to speak at whatever event he pleases," said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguía in a letter to CNN CEO Jim Walton, "as a representative of CNN's 'best political news team in America,' his appearance provides FAIR with the legitimacy of the CNN brand and signals an intensification of the lopsided coverage Dobbs' show has provided during the debate over immigration reform."
Murguía said that CNN's brand would be tainted until they disassociate from the hate group and cautioned advertisers that their brands would be tarnished as well. "We know that advertisers may be unaware that FAIR has been designated as a hate group," said Murguía. "We look at this as a teachable moment." Murguía said that the coalition is compiling lists of advertisers and is currently reaching out to those companies in advance of going public with their names.
"Words have consequences and lives are at stake," said Murguía. "The Latino community knows all too well the effect extreme and polarizing rhetoric can have. Over the past five years we have expressed concern over the vitriolic rhetoric that surrounds the immigration debate. During that time, we have seen a double digit increase in the number of hate crimes against Latinos and substantial growth in the number of hate groups targeting Latinos."
Murguía indicated that she and CNN have tried to work behind the scenes to bring balance to CNN coverage on a number of levels, including diversity before and behind the camera and parity in what she called "the relentless bias" of CNN programming on immigration due to Dobbs' show.
Murguía said that she has documented for CNN a litany of issues over the past two years, including Dobbs' regular retinue of guests representing hate groups, vigilantes, and nativists touted as "immigration experts"; his relentless repetition of stories on immigrants and crime that project an impression far from reality; and his association of immigrants as carriers of disease that has been both inaccurate and pejorative.
Murguía said she had hoped that by working with CNN directly, the news organization's approach could come into balance. "The appearance by Dobbs at a hate group rally is the last straw," she said. "It should be of deep concern to CNN and every one of its advertisers. The credibility of their brands is at stake."
For more information, visit www.WeCanStopTheHate.org