The “resignation” of Lou Dobbs from CNN on November 11 at 7:06 pm. during his program is an important victory not only for Latinos but for the country as a whole. It hopefully represents a movement toward a more responsible journalism and a more constructive political discourse.
As Dobbs struggled to complete his last broadcast on CNN with his trademark smirk gone, his announcement of plans to be an active participant in the leading issues facing this nation clearly indicates that he is not going to disappear. However, the issue was never his ability to speak out on issues but the problem of using a news organization like CNN to spread his bigoted views, and for propagating out and out lies about Latinos, the President and other issues, and pass them off as “news.”
Dobbs was increasingly isolated at CNN and his approach to the news greatly tarnished the integrity of the station’s journalistic standards. His departure will hopefully result in CNN restoring its journalistic objectivity at a time when the media in general is losing credibility with the American people.
We wish to thank all of our colleagues who came together with one voice to call for the removal of Dobbs from the CNN roster. Groups like the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Presente.org, Democracia Now, Free Press, Media Matters, National Council of La Raza, and others came forward to take this issue on. We at the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) were glad to have been a small part in this successful movement.
Now the question is what CNN will be doing with this vacant time spot. They recently aired the series, “Latno in America,” to acknowledge our community and attract more Latinos as viewers. They did so because there are those at CNN and their parent company, Time Warner, who recognize that Latinos are a critical part of this country’s future and of their market. But what are their plans for addressing their historic neglect of the Latino community?
Will we be seeing more Latino executives, anchors, commentators, contributors, and producers at CNN? Will we be seeing more programming like “Latino in America”? A good starting point would be for the leadership of CNN to meet with Latino leaders to develop a partnership for change.
I know we will be hearing from Lou Dobbs soon again. His signoff tonight was, “We will see you next on the radio.” But will we be hearing from Jonathan Klein and the other CNN and Time Warner leadership? Only time will tell.
Angelo Falcón is President of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP).
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