‘Hate Groups, Nativists, and Vigilantes’
Lou Dobbs and the pro-amnesty crowd's campaign of vilification.


Mark Krikorian

It’s not clear why Lou Dobbs resigned from CNN Wednesday. Fox said he’s not headed there, and from his comments it sounds to me like he’s going to run for office in New Jersey (though Bob Menendez’s seat, the next Senate opening, isn’t up until 2012).

Be that as it may, it’s likely that part of the reason was the vilification campaign against Dobbs by pro-amnesty groups, part of a broader jihad against any public expression of skepticism about amnesty and open borders.

After the June 2007 collapse of the Bush-McCain-Kennedy amnesty push in the Senate, a demoralized Frank Sharry, one of the top left-wing amnesty advocates, summed up the lesson he’d learned: “We thought we were in a policy debate#….#And in fact we were in a cultural war.”

Later that year, the open-borders crowd decided to change tactics based on this insight. The public, in their estimation, was open to legalizing the illegal population and further increasing immigration, in exchange for promises of future enforcement, but was being duped by evil-mongers stirring up atavistic fears. So, presaging Obama’s jihads against Limbaugh and Fox News, they shifted from arguing how wonderful amnesty would be to viciously attacking the malefactors who were publicly arguing for attrition of the illegal population through enforcement.

In December 2007, as part of that strategy, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was assigned to designate the oldest restrictionist organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a “hate group.” The National Council of La Raza’s contribution was to start a campaign entitled We Can Stop the Hate, decrying the mainstream opposition to amnesty as a “surge of hate and violence” caused by “code words of hate” peddled by “hate groups, nativists, and vigilantes.” And a new hard-left group, America’s Voice, was founded as a war room for the pro-amnesty faction; among other things, they hosted an online election for the “Top Anti-Immigrant Wolf” (and included me among the nominees, though I haven’t been informed if I’ve won).

But the Emmanuel Goldstein of this drive to demonize amnesty opponents is Lou Dobbs. The Drop Dobbs campaign is sponsored by La Raza, the SPLC, Media Matters, LULAC (the League of United Latin American Citizens), et al. In October they arranged a series of protests by open-borders groups in cities around the country demanding Dobbs’s head. At the New York protest, a pastor from Spanish Harlem told the left-wing New America Media, “Lou Dobbs is a terrorist. He is encouraging the American people to hate Latinos. It is not only a human-rights abuse, but it is a form of terrorism against us.”

The day after the protests, frequent Dobbs critic Geraldo Rivera (who, unlike Dobbs, is not married to a Hispanic woman) said in a speech that the opponents of amnesty have been “reckless beyond imagining” and that Dobbs in particular “is almost singlehandedly responsible for creating, for being the architect of the young-Latino-as-scapegoat for everything that ails this country.”

Along these same lines is Basta Dobbs, whose founder describes its target as “The Most Dangerous Man for Latinos in America.” So We Might See, a “national interfaith coalition for media justice,” joined with the National Hispanic Media Coalition to fight Dobbs’s “anti-immigrant hate speech,” not because it’s factually incorrect but because it’s a form of “media violence.” And the SPLC’s Mark Potok and others claim (here, for instance) that Dobbs is directly responsible for an increase in “hate crimes” against Hispanics (the rate of such crimes actually went down, as FAIR points out in its debunking of the SPLC’s smears — but facts aren’t the point here).


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