May 25, 2018
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REPORT: CNN's Lou Dobbs problem and the immigration debate




 CNN’s Lou Dobbs Loophole

Review of Dobbs’ immigration reporting shows “Most Trusted Name in News” holdsprime-time host to different standard


Washington, D.C. -- Today, in light of CNN host Lou Dobbs’ reported plans to help lead the lobbying campaign of anti-immigration organization Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on September 15 and 16, Media Matters for America revisited some of the most egregious conspiracy theories, hate speech, and undisclosed conflicts of interest in Dobbs’ immigration reporting. Upon learning of Dobbs’ central role at the FAIR event, Media Matters President Eric Burns sent a letter to Jon Klein, president of “the most trusted name in news,” asking that Dobbs be prohibited from participating; thus far, the letter has yielded no response.


“It is hard to believe that CNN -- a network never shy to tout itself as the only cable news channel doing ‘straight’ reporting -- would allow one of its hosts to help lead an anti-immigration lobbying campaign,” said Burns. “But when it comes to the network’s journalistic integrity, CNN seems to have a Lou Dobbs loophole.”


Burns continued: “In fact, it is laughable that after years of reporting marred by baseless conspiracy theories, indefensible hate speech, and undisclosed conflicts of interest, Dobbs still enjoys prime-time billing on the ‘most trusted name in news.’ ”




Upon hearing of Dobbs’ scheduled appearance at the annual FAIR “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio host rally, Media Matters sent a letter to CNN noting that Dobbs’ -- and by extension the network’s -- association with an anti-immigration organization deemed a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center would damage a network whose credibility already took a severe beating following the controversy surrounding Dobbs’ promotion of “birther” conspiracy theories.


After the letter went unanswered, Media Matters released a comprehensive report detailing how Dobbs’ immigration coverage has been marred by egregious conspiracy theories, hate speech, and conflicts of interest. Examples include:


  • Dobbs’ failure to disclose his fundraising for the Hazelton legal defense fund while reporting on immigration ordinance


  • His forced retraction of a smear about the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce


  • His show’s use of a hate group graphic to push the “reconquista” myth


  • His unwavering defense of his show’s wildly off-base leprosy reporting


  • His pushing a North American Union myth that his colleagues called a “conspiracy theor[y]”


  • His injecting loaded “amnesty” graphics into CNN journalists’ news reports


To view the entire report:


REPORT: CNN’s Lou Dobbs problem and the immigration debate


Media Matters for America is a progressive research and information center dedicated to monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the media. For more information,


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