CNN's Dobbs Scolds Papers for Distorting Agenda of Protests by Illegal Aliens

On Tuesday's Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, Dobbs scolded “this country's major daily newspapers” for how they “misled” readers in their coverage of immigration rallies since “their headlines failed to tell the truth about what the rallies are all about: Rallies in favor of illegal immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens.” Dobbs showed the front pages of four newspapers, starting with the New York Times' headline of “Immigrants Rally in Scores of Cities for Legal Status,” followed by the Washington Post's description of “Immigration Rights Rallies,” USA Today's “Historic rallies voice a 'dream'” and the Wall Street Journal's “Immigration-Policy Protests Draw Huge Crowds of Workers.”

Dobbs, however, offered praise for one newspaper's “astute” take, quoting approvingly from a Tuesday Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial which contended: “Organizers wanted the marches to be more about people and less about policy. Most television stations swallowed the bait and delivered news reports soft enough to follow Sesame Street on PBS.” (Transcript, of the comments from Dobbs, follows.)

My Monday night NewsBusters item, “Networks Champion Cause of 'Americans' Marching for 'Immigration Reform,'” detailed the celebratory coverage delivered by the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts. In another NewsBusters posting, Tim Graham provided a look at the Washington Post's “oozy, woozy promotional coverage.”

On the April 11 Lou Dobbs Tonight, after a brief item on how an anti-illegal immigration protester was attacked and injured in Maine, and Dobbs pointing out how the many protests elsewhere were violence-free, Dobbs observed, as viewers saw the front pages of the newspapers with the headlines he quoted:
“This country's major daily newspapers, however, may have misled some of their readers today in their coverage of those demonstrations and rallies. Their headlines failed to tell the truth about what the rallies are all about: Rallies in favor of illegal immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens. The New York Times, for example, headlined today: 'Immigrants Rally in Scores of Cities for Legal Status.' The Washington Post calls yesterday's marches 'Immigration Rights Rallies' and called yesterday's D.C. march 'A Banner Day on the Mall.' USA Today's headline reads, 'Historic rallies voice a “dream:” Immigrants, backers demand citizenship.' The Wall Street Journal headline reading, 'Immigration-Policy Protests Draw Huge Crowds of Workers' [Dobbs paused and then emphasized “workers.”]

“One newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, however, was somewhat more straightforward. It made this astute comment in an editorial today saying, quote [text on screen]: 'Organizers wanted the marches to be more about people and less about policy. Most television stations swallowed the bait and delivered news reports soft enough to follow Sesame Street on PBS. The reason for such an attest is obvious. If marchers made the demands the centerpiece for protests, the outcry from American taxpayers already fed up with immigration would overwhelm the previously full mailboxes of every member of Congress.'”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center