Jan 01 2010

Hasta la Vista, Lou Dobbs

Immigrant-bashing ex-CNN host eyes next move

Lou Dobbs--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/roberthuffstutter

On November 11, Lou Dobbs abruptly quit his CNN program, bringing a sudden end to a television program most notable for its remarkably one-sided presentation of immigration issues. Since 2003, Dobbs regularly used his CNN platform to issue misleading and alarmist warnings about the threats posed by unauthorized immigrants. Dobbs has spoken of an “army of invaders” scheming to reannex parts of the southwestern U.S. to Mexico (3/31/06), claimed that “illegal alien smugglers and drug traffickers are on the verge of ruining some of our national treasures” (11/19/03) and declared that “the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health […]

May 01 2009

Marketing the Media’s ‘Toughest Sheriff’

Joe Arpaio hyped by cable, exposed by locals

The East Valley Tribune’s Pulitzer-winning series (7/9-13/08) exposing the soaring crime rates that followed from Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s redeployment of law enforcement resources into a campaign against undocumented immigrants (see Extra! 6/1/09) offers a fine example of journalism holding the powerful to account. It’s a model of journalism that has been all too rare in much of the news coverage of the official who—often with the help of cable news outlets—markets himself as “America’s toughest sheriff.” Under Arpaio’s leadership, Maricopa County, which includes the Phoenix metropolitan area, has faced record numbers of lawsuits and has had to […]

May 01 2009

Arpaio vs. Immigrants

Those most affected left out of debate

As the country braces for another attempt at immigration reform on Capitol Hill later this year, it’s likely that we’ll see plenty more of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his supporters and his detractors in the media. But if the past year is any indication, we may not hear from the people that are most affected by the Maricopa County, Ariz. sheriff’s policies—those who have been racially profiled, regardless of their immigration status. Arpaio, who has been in office 16 years, bills himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” (Extra! 6/1/09) Denounced for brutal and unconstitutional practices by human rights advocates for more than […]

Apr 01 2009

Hate Speech, Media Activism and the First Amendment

Putting a spotlight on dehumanizing language

In just over a month last winter, two Latino men were beaten to death in New York state while their attackers shouted racial slurs and epithets (Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/25/09). Such hate crimes, motivated by anti-immigrant prejudice and other bigotries, have spurred a media justice campaign to reveal the potential human costs of hate speech. When the FBI reported that hate crimes against Hispanics had increased by an astonishing 40 percent between 2003 and 2007 (FBI: Hate Crime Statistics, 2003 and 2007), UCLA professor Chon Noriega began to ask “whether the media plays a role in the persistence of hate speech […]

Mar 20 2009

Robert Johnson on AIG bonuses, Laura Carlsen on Mexican drug wars


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The AIG executive bonuses account for less than one percent of the money taxpayers are turning over to the insurance giant in the largest of the corporate bailouts. But it’s the bonus story that has riveted the public attention and outrage. We’ll talk to Robert Johnson, formerly the managing director at Soros Funds Management and chief economist of the Senate Banking Committee, about AIG and the power of the bonuses story. Also on the show: CNN has been telling viewers that “regardless of where you are in the country,” that’s this country, the war […]

Sep 01 2008

The Illusion of Immigrant Criminality

Getting the numbers wrong

Photo Credit: Democracy Now!

Immigrants aren’t a crime problem. “The foreign-born commit considerably fewer crimes than the native-born,” as President Herbert Hoover’s National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement concluded in 1931 (National Lawyers Guild Quarterly, 10/39; Immigration Policy Center, Spring/07). While noncitizens now make up more than 8 percent of the U.S. population, the available evidence indicates that they account for no more than 6 or 7 percent of the people incarcerated for crimes in the United States, less than 170,000 of the 2.3 million inmates currently in our federal, state and local penal systems–not including some 30,000 immigrants in administrative detention on […]

Jul 01 2008

Fareed Zakaria, Spokesperson for the Global Elite

Newsweek pundit presents pro-corporate views as the poor’s perspective

Fareed Zakaria (cc photo: James Willamor)

Fareed Zakaria, now the highly influential editor of Newsweek International, author of The Post-American World, and host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, constructed a landmark of unintended irony when he regally pronounced that “the downtrodden beg to differ” with protesters of corporate globalization (Foreign Affairs, 12/13/99). Those who demonstrated against the World Trade Organization at the famous “battle of Seattle” in 1999, he asserted, were displaying the hubris of the “rich and privileged,” who were delivering “a familiar plea for the downtrodden of the world” by challenging the WTO’s promotion of sweatshops and environmental degradation in the impoverished Third World. In […]

Feb 01 2008

The Lou Dobbs Primary?

Media, not voters, push immigration issue

Media coverage of the 2008 presidential election identifies immigration as a key issue for the U.S. electorate–even though, according to most polling, it does not rank as a top priority for voters. CNN‘s Republican debate on November 28 opened with a full 35 minutes devoted to the issue of immigration. Washington Post columnist David Broder (11/15/07) referred to “illegal immigration” as one of two major “icebergs ahead for the Democrats” in the upcoming presidential race (ex-President Bill Clinton being the other purported shipwrecker). Columnist and CBS correspondent Gloria Borger (U.S. News & World Report, 11/10/07) declared immigration a “killer issue,” […]