UPDATE 11/11/09: Under pressure, Lou Dobbs resigned from CNN. Thanks to your efforts and the work of our partners, Dobbs can no longer use CNN as a platform to pursue his dangerous, one-sided, and often conspiracy-tinged crusade against immigrants.
Watch a video highlighting the campaign:
In July 2009, Lou Dobbs followed up on years of trafficking in fact-free, racially-charged conspiracy theories by promoting "birther" paranoia about President Obama's birth certificate on CNN's airwaves.
Dobbs' long history of spreading vitriol and paranoia includes discussing the North American Union conspiracy theory, incorrectly claiming that undocumented immigrants drain social services and don't pay taxes, and repeatedly amplifying the falsehood that undocumented immigrants are disproportionately violent. He has been an unrepentant purveyor of hateful attacks, fraudulently claiming, for example, that immigrants are spreading leprosy and seek to reconquer the southwestern United States.
For years, Lou Dobbs has benefited enormously from the legitimacy of the CNN brand, which provides him with an unparalleled platform from which to mainstream hate speech and racially charged conspiracy theories normally relegated to Fox News and other conservative news outlets. Dobbs calls himself an "advocacy journalist," but he doesn't even live up to that ambiguous standard. Good journalism enhances the discussion of serious topics, but Dobbs helps to undermine and debase that discussion, routinely infusing it with misinformation and fear. And when it comes to issues like immigration, he has more in common with birther Orly Taitz than with Anderson Cooper. The AP declared Dobbs to be a "publicity nightmare" for CNN, but the network continually makes excuses for its prized anchor.
In response, Media Matters launched the Drop Dobbs campaign. Efforts included:
- A 20,000-signature petition calling on CNN to credibly address Lou Dobbs' frequent promotion of fringe conspiracies about President Obama's birth certificate.
- More than 5,000 emails calling on CNN president Jon Klein to address his network's Dobbs problem.
- A week-long ad campaign on MSNBC in the Washington, D.C., New York, and Atlanta media markets that pushed back against CNN's legitimization of "birther" theories. CNN refused to air the the spot, but the public demonstrated their interest in the story by watching the ad on YouTube over 100,000 times in 24 hours.
- A coalition of organizations that joined Media Matters to let companies know that their continued financial support of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight made them complicit in the hate speech and wild conspiracy theories that he promotes:
America's Voice Education Fund
Center for New Community
Dolores Huerta Foundation
The Hispanic Institute
League of United Latin American Citizens
National Council of La Raza
National Hispanic Media Coalition
National Puerto Rican Coalition
New Democrat Network
Reform Immigration FOR America
Southern Poverty Law Center
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials
Thanks to this initiative, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gable, and others cut ties with Dobbs' program.