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CNN host Lou Dobbs — the anti-illegal immigration “advocacy journalist” who has likely done more than anyone in America to popularize false claims about immigrants’ diseases, criminality and incarceration rates — is at it again. This time, he’s plugging the case of two Border Patrol agents who attacked an unarmed border-crosser who was trying to surrender, shot at him 15 times and wounded him as he fled, then tampered with the crime scene and failed to report the shooting as required to their supervisors.
Dobbs thinks “these two outstanding Border Patrol agents,” as he describes the men who were sentenced to terms of 11 and 12 years by a federal jury last October, should be free — so much so, in fact, that he has featured their case 131 times on his CNN show in the last year, including an hour-long special called “Border Betrayal.” That’s because the man shot by Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean turned out to be a drug smuggler (although Ramos and Compean didn’t know that when they opened fire on Feb. 17, 2005). These details and many others are offered up in an excellent article in this month’s Texas Monthly by Pamela Colloff.
As the magazine points out, Dobbs glossed over all damning details of the incident in his coverage and was denounced in a Wall Street Journal editorial for his “pseudo-reporting” on the case. Even Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, hardly a bleeding heart liberal, reminded viewers the agents had “shot the guy in the butt when he was running away.” But it was all par for Dobbs’ course. The Texas Monthly story came three months after a New York Times column, examining Dobbs’ bogus claims about immigrants bringing a wave of leprosy cases to America, concluded the news anchor has “a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.” The Columbia Journalism Review and a number of other publications also flogged Dobbs over his never-withdrawn leprosy claims.
Dobbs, now accompanied by a howling mob of right-wing pundits and politicians, has bitterly attacked the man who charged Ramos and Compean, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, a highly conservative Texas lawyer who worked for President Bush in Texas and Washington. But in an interview with Texas Monthly, Sutton defended himself eloquently. “What makes America great is the rule of law,” he said. “It applies to everyone, no matter how powerful and important they may be.”
Even if Lou Dobbs thinks otherwise.