Latino In America San Francisco Edition

Last night I attended the advance screening and panel session of Latino in America a CNN produced series that will be airing tomorrow October 21 and 22nd.

By 2050, the U.S. Latino population is expected to nearly triple. This October, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien explores how Latinos are reshaping our communities and culture and forcing a nation of immigrants to rediscover what it means to be an American,” is the statement on CNN’s website to entice potential viewers. CNN has been working hard to market this four hour series by hosting advance screening parties across the nation. It’s obvious that the series is a serious effort to capture a larger share of the Hispanic market.

Despite their efforts, CNN which pledges itself as the ‘most trusted name in news’ is also the home of Lou Dobbs one of the most vitriolic anti immigrant voices in the media.  a national online advocacy organization has been running a very strong campaign to highlight the blatant lies Lou Dobbs spreads on his program. He has claimed that “Just about a third of our prison system is made up of illegal aliens.” But the Department of Justice reports that immigrants (legal and illegal) make just 6% of the prison population.  

After the screening there was a panel discussion led by CNN en Espanol’s anchor Gabriela Frias and a Q & A session with the audience. The panelists included a reporter from the San Jose Mercury Newspaper, one of the reporters who put together the series and retired Senator Art Torres. One of the more interesting questions asked, was about the hypocrisy of CNN promoting Latino in America while simultaneously hosting Lou Dobbs. Ms. Frias and the reporter from the series sidestepped the issue by responding that their job was to get good stories out and that Latinos in America have to be heard but they suggested contacting the powers that be of CNN to make the questioners view point’s heard. Sen. Art Torres responded that he felt Dobbs’ view points had marginalized him.

I asked the panel what they thought about the current California water policy issues and how Glen Beck and the Republican Party were using the Central Valley Latino community for their astroturf campaign. Sen. Torres said that

If they (the Republican Party) thought the Latino community was that stupid then they were in for a rude awakening akin to ‘Pee Wee Wilson’ and his disastrous Prop 187 campaign.

I was happy to hear Sen. Torres say this because that particular fight put many Latino boots on the ground in California for the Democratic Party. It was during the Prop 187 and 209 campaigns that I myself became more politically active and I see that time period as a defining point in my life for the path that I would eventually follow working full time in politics. As the Comprehensive Immigration Reform issue comes up in Congress it will be interesting to see if CNN ultimately chooses Lou Dobbs and his hate speech or Latinos in America. America’s Voice and Media Matters planned to run an ad targeting Dobbs during the broadcast of Latino in America, but CNN refused to air it.

America’s Voice says it plans to run the ad on a competing network.

9 thoughts on “Latino In America San Francisco Edition”

  1. Nic – thank you so much for highlighting this important issue. We, the American People, are NOT served at all by the massive media conglomerates and this is another example – especially if these folks are going to be covering immigration issues in their Latino Community coverage. Immigration is so complex, multi-dimensional, challenging and oftentimes heart-wrenching and takes some thoughtful conversations and contemplation to navigate. I’m pretty sure that FOX and CNN and the rest won’t be thoughtful or contemplative…sigh. I also know that when I go home to Nebraska…especially in the winter…people are basically hypnotized on their couches watching this crap because it’s too freezing cold to do much else. Thank you for giving us an alternative conversation topic. Let’s stand for multi-dimensional analysis and thought.  

  2. Was really one of the leaders in the GOP’s “Southern Strategy” of scapegoating Latinos for short-term political gain. Short-term gains seem to be the big goal on the Right, and they don’t really look to how this will impact on the country going forward.

    Wilson made a big tactical mistake with Prop 187, and the right-wing efforts to get similar measures on the ballot will make them look even more anachronistic.

  3. Thanks Nic for calling CNN out on their hypocrisy! There’s no excuse for airing the trash Lou Dobbs puts out. The “good stories” they want to get out end up often getting lost because of all his screaming.

  4. that the right wing constantly tries to win their arguments by making up facts and slandering members of our community. Thanks for bringing this CNN series to our attention Nic!

  5. It’s interesting to hear the discussion about the format wars that are taking place on news networks.  Ever since Stewart’s performance on hard ball, the format has changed from a “left” vs. right scream fest, to a conspiracy laced scream fest with the camera. I’m not blaming Stewart, he ended an awful format of news, that in his words “hurt America” and now someone needs to step in and do it again.

    CNN claiming to be the most trusted name in news is ridiculous, they have Dobbs and they were the first to put Beck on tv.  Remember, Beck was a morning radio show host for most of his career.  I enjoyed the dog house growing up, guess what though, I wouldn’t give them a show on CNN, “THE MOST RESPECTED NAME IN NEWS.”

    Also, I’m not Latino, but the ridiculous racism surrounding it is what brought me in to politics too.

  6. Torres’ comment that Dobbs has ‘marginalized himself’ rings hollow. True, many liberals look at him as a joke. But … he still has a show on CNN every day for an hour. If that is what it means to be marginalized, sign me up!

    While I applaud the Latino in America documentary, the problem is that it is a one-time event, while Dobbs is a non-stop disaster. CNN needs to address, honestly, the issues of credibility and editorial dishonesty that Dobbs presents.

    I know the people at the event are ‘doing their best’, but as long as CNN gives Latinos 4 hours a year, and Dobbs 5 hours each week, as an institution, they are making their priorities clear.

  7. Thanks nic for bringing this issue to light.  It’s simply appalling that CNN is willing to spend so much time and money to gain more Latino viewers while continuing to promote and air a show that slanders and degrades them and their contributions to our country.  Sounds like what Reps (and Dems) do every 4 years to women voters and voters of color – beg for their support and then abandon them when it really matters.  CNN needs to own up to the fact that Lou Dobbs is spreading harmful propaganda that has real-life consequences for many people living and working in this country and get rid of him. I’m sure Dobbs can find a job over at Fox News anyway.

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