First I would like to thank Jackie J. for forwarding me a copy of this. More from me on the other side.
SPLC President Calls on CNN to Remove Lou Dobbs from Air, Cites Newsman's Support for Extremist-Inspired 'Birther' Claims
The following is a letter from SPLC President Richard Cohen to CNN President Jonathan Klein.
July 24, 2009
1 Time Warner Center
New York, N.Y. 10019-6038
Dear Mr. Klein,
As an important and respected news organization, CNN has a special responsibility to ensure the accuracy of its reporting. We have written to you before about our concern that Lou Dobbs repeatedly fails to live up to this standard in his reporting on immigration. Now, Mr. Dobbs is again trading in falsehoods and racist conspiracy theories, questioning President Obama's American citizenship.
On the July 15 edition of "Lou Dobbs Tonight," Mr. Dobbs questioned the official certificate provided by the president and the State of Hawaii and complained that President Obama has not made public the "original document." On his radio program, Mr. Dobbs has repeatedly questioned the president's fitness for office, demanding he "show the documents" and, at one point, jokingly suggesting President Obama may be "undocumented."
The truth about the president's birth is not in dispute. It has been verified by Factcheck.org, among many other serious news organizations, and his official birth documents have been made public. CNN itself has repeatedly reported on the falsity of the claims of the "birthers," and the network's esteemed legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, recently called those claims "a joke." As you know, even Mr. Dobbs' frequent fill-in anchor, Kitty Pilgrim, debunked the birthers on the July 17 edition of Mr. Dobbs' own CNN show. The fact that Mr. Dobbs suggests otherwise on CNN ? while real CNN reporters telll the truth ? is both deplorable and an embarrassment to all serious journalists.
As he has in several other instances, Mr. Dobbs, in taking up the birthers' claims, is adopting an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that originated on the radical racist right. As Gawker.com has reported, this particular conspiracy theory was first developed by an open anti-Semite and circulated by right-wing extremists who cannot accept the fact that a black man has been elected president of the United States. Among its adherents was neo-Nazi James von Brunn, the alleged murderer of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., this June. Von Brunn had helped spread the birthers' claims on the Internet and attacked the "dishonest & conspiratorial Media" for not taking them up.
This is not the first time Mr. Dobbs has pushed racist conspiracy theories or defamatory falsehoods about immigrants. We wrote you in 2007 to bring to your attention his utterly false claim that 7,000 new cases of leprosy had appeared in the United States in a recent three-year period, due at least in part to immigrants. (The real number, according to official statistics, was about 400. Mr. Dobbs took his spurious information from the late right-wing extremist, Madeleine Cosman.) In addition, Mr. Dobbs has reported as fact the so-called Aztlan conspiracy, which claims that undocumented Mexican immigrants are part of a plot to "reconquer" the American Southwest. He has suggested there is something to a related conspiracy theory that claims the governments of Mexico, the United States and Canada are secretly planning to merge into the "North American Union." He has falsely claimed that "illegal aliens" fill one third of American prison and jail cells. And Mr. Dobbs has routinely disparaged, on CNN's air, those who have had the integrity to point out the falsity of these and similar claims.
Respectable news organizations should not employ reporters willing to peddle racist conspiracy theories and false propaganda. It's time for CNN to remove Mr. Dobbs from the airwaves.
J. Richard Cohen
Ricky Cohen, suicidal SPLC cockroach in search of a CNN light switch.
Uh, huh. Well, a number of things occured to me when I read this latest SPLC classic. I distilled them down in the form of a letter to Lou Dobbs. Here it is:
"People who live in grass houses shouldn't throw lawnmowers." -- Officer Judy, Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, 1968.
Dear Mr. Dobbs,
As you well know by now, Ricky Cohen of the inappropriately named Southern "Poverty" Law Center has demanded that CNN remove you from the air, by means of a perfect jeremiad of a letter which is shot through with the same conflations, elisions, half-truths, deliberately sloppy logic and guilt-by-associations that have long characterized the SPLC trademark.
My first thought upon reading it was that it must be fund-raising time again. Certainly SPLC's fortune has been nastily depleted by the economic downturn. Yet one wonders why the well-paid Mr. Cohen, who possesses a mind crafty enough to serially shake down gullible folks of their hard-earned money, would violate Mark Twain's famous dictum: "Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the gallon."
This incaution may come from the fact that the state-run media in this country has never taken a really close look at SPLC's history and modus operandi, a bag of dead cats that their own hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, once dubbed "Marketing the Militias."
Non-profit watchdog groups have long condemned SPLC's practices and penchant for internal secrecy. They have in the past been sued for their own racist practices by former staffers.
Indeed, their defense of the ATF at the time of the 1995 Good O' Boys Roundup scandal, when Morris Dees gave political cover to racist federal agents (who handed out "Nigger Hunting Licenses" and infamously depicted "The Birth of the Black Race" in a skit by pulling a black baby doll from a watermelon) by declaring the videotape of the affair taken by Alabama militiamen to be a fake was wholly inconsistent with their alleged mission statement. The tape was subsequently proven to be legitimate by FBI forensics expert Frederick Whitehurst, but Morris Dees was more interested in protecting his sources of information within the ATF -- an unholy and illegal alliance reflecting an identity of interest. Dragonslayers need the threat of scary dragons to frighten the villagers into providing their next free meal.
Many veterans of the Civil Rights struggle here in Alabama despise Morris Dees, calling him a "civil rights pimp" and "hustler" who "makes money off dead black boys." Were you to interview these genuine footsoldiers of the Fifties and Sixties, they would give you plenty of quotes that would take the hide off Dees and his "civil rights" organization.
Yet the most dangerous aspect of SPLC's activities over the years is not their unscrupulous fund raising nor the poor quality of their so-called "intelligence reports" but rather the way they have managed to insert their own world view into all levels of law enforcement. This "Narrative of 1995" is dissected quite professionally by historian Robert Churchill in his new book, "To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant's Face." (University of Michigan Press, 2009) You have only to see the horrendous "Right Wing Extremism" report by DHS or the equally fallacious Missouri MIAC report to recognize the fingerprints of SPLC's leftist lie machine.
And the sad thing is that it is all done for money. There is no "poverty" in the SPLC's bank accounts, nor in their fund-raising methods (unless it is a poverty of scruples). All of which brings me back to Ricky Cohen's incaution. "People who live in grass houses shouldn't throw lawnmowers," warned Officer Judy of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968. Yet that is just what Cohen has done.
He has picked a fight with someone who, if they don't buy ink by the gallon, certainly has plenty of electrons available to turn a very bright, white-hot light on SPLC's activities over the years -- activities that will not bear critical scrutiny. So why this particular political cockroach is toying with the light switch that can send him scurrying is beyond me.
Perhaps you should ask him. On prime time.
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126