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By J. Richard Cohen, SPLC
Last night, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs announced his departure from
the network. As you know, we've been highly critical of Dobbs because he has
used his platform to spread myths and propaganda — poisoning the debate over
immigration reform and inciting fear and hate against Latinos.
With your support, we exposed his wildly inaccurate reporting
about immigrants — such as his insistence that immigrants had brought thousands
of new cases of leprosy to the United States during a recent three-year period.
And we condemned his reliance on the Federation for American
Immigration Reform as an authority on immigration issues. This is an
organization we have named a hate group with longtime ties to white
This past July, we called
on CNN executives to fire Dobbs after he relentlessly promoted the racist
and utterly baseless idea that President Obama is not a native-born American
citizen. Soon thereafter, a number of other organizations joined our call.
Immigration reform is an important and complex issue, one
that should be debated honestly. We hope that Dobbs' resignation sends a
message to other commentators that the airwaves shouldn't be used to vent
extremist rhetoric and fan the flames of hate. Doing so has serious and
sometimes violent consequences, as illustrated by the rise in hate crimes
against Latinos and the unprecedented number of threats against Obama.
We are committed to exposing those who disseminate
misinformation that foments hate. Together, we took a stand, and our actions
made a difference. Thank you for everything you do to combat bigotry and