Monday, September 17, 2007

CNN’s Lou Dobbs: America’s Jean-Marie Le Pen

In France, the former paratrooper, leader of the Front National, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has been the tribune of prejudice against immigrants, blaming them for unemployment among the French, campaigning to shut off future immigration, and even demanding the expulsion of millions of immigrants from the country.

In the United States, the man who beats the drums to warn Americans about the dangers of immigration is not a political leader. He is a broadcaster, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, whose weekday show Lou Dobbs Tonight (6.00 p.m. ET), is devoted to haranguing his fellow countrymen about the myriad ways illegal Latino immigrants are harming America.

Dobbs’ show is a soapbox for his cause. Night after night, he rants about what he calls the “War on the Middle Class.” He has written a book with that title and shamelessly uses his program to flog it.

Many of the problems of the middle class, by which he means wage and salary earners, can be laid at the door of the illegals, according to Dobbs. They hold incomes down and they flood into neighbourhoods and transform their cultural character.

In his broadcasts, Dobbs has charged that Mexican immigrants conceive of themselves as an “army of invaders” who are determined to occupy the southwestern United States in order to reverse the outcome of the Mexican-American war of 1846 and return a giant swath of the USA to Mexico. He once declared that “the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans” as a consequence of “deadly imports” of leprosy, malaria and other diseases.

America’s borders are not secure, they are "broken", Dobbs warns in nightly jeremiads. He is mostly talking about the frontier with Mexico but he throws in the Canadian border from time to time. Dobbs became alarmed last month when Presidents George Bush and Felipe Calderon held a North American summit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Chateau Montebello on the Ottawa River. He imagines that far from the US dominating its neighbours the US government is shedding sovereignty on behalf of pesky Mexicans and Canadians.

Dobbs sometimes broadcasts from sites next to the Mexican frontier, where he hosts open forums with guests who specialize in bashing Mexicans. The odd Latino gets on the show to complain about bias, but nothing is ever done to introduce even a modicum of balance into these exercises.

Other favourite Dobbs takes on the story include:

• Chastising Congress for not locking down the borders.
• Railing against municipalities that are sympathetic to Latinos and refuse to crack down on illegal immigrants.

Never appropriately acknowledged on the Dobbs show, as is the case with the narratives of Le Pen in France, is the extent to which the United States and American employers have come to depend on Latino labour.

Even more noteworthy than Lou Dobbs, with his obsessive negativity about immigrants, is the willingness of CNN to broadcast this torrent of abuse, month after month. CNN and Lou Dobbs cry out for action by the derelict Federal Communications Commission whose job it is to decide which broadcasters deserve a licence.

Americans are treated to a multi-channel media universe from which they can draw a minimum of useful information, and a very limited range of viewpoints. In the land of the free, people are free to imbibe the ravings of the loud and the call of the ignorant.


Anonymous said...

At least he's talking about SPP (although I do appreciate your essay).
That's more than I can say for our media. I tend to agree with him more than not, especially since the topic of globalization and free trade is not covered enough on any media other than his show. Free trade without enshrined labor rights in the treaty is just disastrous policy for the middle class.

Johnny Eleven said...

This surprises you? Have you checked out the ravings of their "president"? It's not as if Americans set the bar very high. As we saw in 2000, anyone who talks sense is considered wacky.

Freshwater Mermaid said...

The 'war on the middle' class has been waged since the middle class was created several decades ago. It's still a new idea with many enemies, not the least of whom are from the Chicago School of Economics.

Look at the situation with coffee in Ethiopia. When Starbucks went as far as patenting the names of various coffees in the native language of the people who grow it to prevent them from achieving a better price for their product, the Ambassador of Ethiopia went to Starbucks, not the government who regulates it, to beg him not to do so.

As Uncle Milty has repeatedly shown us, paying appropriate market prices for a commodity to the people who own it is only done when there is no other alternative. Immigrants aren't attacking the middle-class. The upper-class is and always has been.

Think anyone's going to broadcast that under the watchful eye of GE or Disney?

Anonymous said...

It's a pity that much of what Dobbs has to say about illegals is swathed in hatred. But illegals do exist in the U.S. as a permanent community of Helots, there to do the low-wage bidding of petit bourgeois capitalism. Problem is that liberals and others further left like Prof. Laxer can't face it. Go to Gywn Dyers blog for a more realistic view.

dirk buchholz said...

JL said..."to reverse the outcome of the Mexican-American war of 1846 and return a giant swath of the USA to Mexico"...

the irony of it,it's funny how that works.

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