Media Blog

More on Dobbs

In response to my earlier post, a reader writes:

Ok, wait just a sec here.  Isn’t the core issue whether or not the graphic is accurate?  If the CCC assembled that data from publicly available and verifiable sources, and it factually portrays the reconquista agenda of extremist Hispanic groups, who cares who did the Powerpoint?  It may not be ideal that the graphic comes with baggage, but if its a true representation, its origins and the motives for producing it are not relevant.  Dobbs should not apologize. He should verify the data driving the graphic, and hang tough on the basis that truth is truth, whatever its source.  Buying into the idea that a group with suspect motives should simply shut up cedes critical ground to punks like Digby whose only real strategy is to define truth as secondary to motive. Running from dung throwers flinging ‘racism’ is a sure bet to lose this debate.

This reader makes a tempting argument, given the left’s frequently disingenuous use of race. But he fails to address a key point I made in my post. First, the CCC is a group that espouses white supremacy. Leave aside the question of whether it was wise of Dobbs to give the left a rhetorical club by using the CCC as a source of information, and assume the information is correct. What about the argument that a national news broadcast should not give a racist group the distinction of being a legitimate source of information?
I know that whenever I get linked by other sites in the blogosphere, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. By linking to me, these other sites are saying that I’m not only a credible source of information, but also a voice that belongs in the debate (unless they’re linking to say the opposite, which is not the case in this example). By citing the CCC, Dobbs is inadvertently saying that white-supremecist groups deserve a prominent place in the national discourse. I disagree. They should be free to say whatever they want, but often what they say is repugnant. When national figures treat them as serious organizations, it gives them credibility. It enhances their reputations. Such validation, in turn, helps them advocate their vile beliefs. 
My argument is that Dobbs should not have lent this kind of credibility to a white-supremecist group, regardless of whether the information is accurate.
UPDATE: CNN responds:

A freelance field producer in Los Angeles searched the web for Aztlan maps and grabbed the Council of Conservative Citizens map without knowing the nature of the organization. The graphic was a late inclusion in the script and, regrettably, was missed in the vetting process.

If the incident was indeed “regrettable,” Dobbs should say so on the air.