The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

‘Democracy Now’ Takes On Lou Dobbs

By Mark Potok on December 5, 2007 - 11:58 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Media Extremism

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of “Democracy Now,” a serious radio and television news and analysis program, conducted an hour-long interview with nativist CNN host Lou Dobbs yesterday, and it was a doozie. Dobbs was pounded with questions about the bogus “facts” that he regularly trots out to demonize undocumented immigrants, such as his claim that a “third of our prison population” are “illegal aliens.” (As “Democracy Now” pointed out, the Justice Department says about 6% of state and federal prison populations are non-citizens. The government does not know what percentage of those non-citizens are undocumented.)

Dobbs’ chief reaction was to attack the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), whose Intelligence Report has carried a series of reports on Dobbs’ inaccuracies (see here, here, here and here), his promotion of racist conspiracy theories (see here), and the appearance of hate group members and leaders on his program (see here). (“Democracy Now” relied heavily on that SPLC research to confront Dobbs, who was plugging a new book.) Bizarrely, Dobbs responded to mention of his use of a white supremacist group’s graphic by noting that he had sent producers and reporters to SPLC’s Alabama offices in late 2004 “to make certain this sort of thing doesn’t happen.” But minutes later, he described the very same SPLC as “indulging in pure BS” in order to raise money. On his own show, he has called the SPLC a “fascist” group after SPLC criticized him. The whole thing was reminiscent of the way Dobbs last spring defended his false claim of immigrant-borne leprosy in an on-air debate with SPLC officials (see here).

This morning, “Democracy Now” invited Mark Potok, editor of the Center’s Intelligence Report, to respond to Dobbs’ comments and to discuss the magazine’s new cover story, which details an apparent surge in violent, anti-Latino hate crime.

Also today, The New York Times reported that Dobbs was planning to add a three-hour daily radio program to his CNN show, “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” and his post as a commentator on CBS’ “The Early Show.” Dobbs characterized his radio show in this eyebrow-raising comment to the Times: “My interest is in bringing a voice of reason, rather than the partisan and ideological poles that define talk radio right now.”

  • colin

    SPLC is the hate group. This blog is full of hate. Interestingly, they focus on the mean ol’ whites. They call them racists or “nativists.” This group doesn’t try to understand other points of view.
    SPLC’s hate is so instilled that they can’t even see it. Anyone who disagrees with them or has a different point of view is a “hater.”

    SPLC is full of themselves. They are the king of thought. If you disagree—you will be monitored. SPLC believes that our immigration laws are meaningless, I don’t, so in their eyes—I must be a hater. Since I’m white, they’ll probably call me a racist, radical or nativist. How can I take this group seriously?

    I need to set up my own “HATE” blog to monitor SPLC.

  • Tapart News Editor

    View Tapart News and Art that Talks editor’s take on the Amy Goodman/Juan Gonzalez Lou Dobbs “Debate” at

    I looked forward to Lou Dobbs appearing on Democracy Now hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. There appeared to be a common good, common sense fit between the parties but something short circuited. I am a Populist Conservative and have a listening ear for what Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez have to say. Up to now I found them to be objective about most subjects and felt their research was very good. However this time, they took off to a different strange place and destroyed the common ground Populists should understand. Lou Dobbs likes to define Populism as 300 million Americans minds are better than elite groupings that tend to govern us.

    There are layers of causes and effects surrounding the illegal immigration issue and everyone of good will know we can not let families of any kind left out to dry even if they are illegal immigrants, but at the same time, we can not accept the stituation without finding out why did it happen the way it did. Why are the Illegal immigrants here? Free Trade was supposed to fix the situation. The USA moved more than 4000 US factories to Mexico starting in 1956. This is a very long history of Free Trade failures and I thought this was going to be the core discussions. A new working poor class has been created in the USA to help other nations out.
    Instead Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez picked on issues far from the common sense common good perspective. The first question should have been – Who says we have to compete in a global economic arena like gladiators ? – be it Mexican, American or whatever.

    (Explore the lost worlds in the Globalist Free Trade Flat World at and

  • Michael

    >What do you call a 1,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?
    > A good start.

    You don’t understand that people are fighting for there jobs. Kinda hard to go on strike for better living conditions when your employer has thousands of illegals willing to take your job from you for lower pay and no benefits. I imagine 90% of the staff of SPLC supports illegal alien to keep the cost of there lawncare, babysitting, housecleaning. Do any of you pay benefits to your household staff?

  • Robert Fullerton

    These people are indigenous to this land, not aliens.

  • will hart

    It appears that the SPLC has lost its way or has been taken over by Global Corporate Contributors that use slave labor, ie illegal aliens in their work force. I have lost all respect for your organization.

  • DM

    LOL, news flash! A Hispanic person can be a racist towards other hispancis and the fact that Lou Dobbs has a Hispanic wife means nothing. My mother is 1/2 Korean and is the biggest racist around when it comes to Asian people.

  • James

    Folks, there is a difference between someone coming to the US legally, filling out proper paperwork and going through the proper background checks.

    There is something totally differnet in crossing the border to avoid the US government and border patrol checkpoints. OR overstaying ones travel and student visas. Remember, 15 of the 19 terrorists on 9-11 were in this country ILLEGALLY overstaying visas….

    the illegal immigration is not about RACE. its about rule of law. Do some research on the hezbollah terrorists being smuggled into the US from Tiajuana Mexico to Detroit.

    There have also been media reports on newspapers from cities on the border. they have doumented that people from the middle east are coming into mexico, taking hispanic surmanes, learning spanish and then being smuggled into the US. we dont know if these people not caught are terrorists or not…. but lets hope there is not another attack on the homeland. because when it happens, and the government finds out the people came into the country illegaly by crossing the borders, are you people still going to feel the same thing? or do you think it will be time to have a more watchful eye on who enters???

  • Sue

    For anyone foolish and uneducated enough to call Lou Dobbs a “racist”—-you might want to do your research. He has been married to a Mexican-American woman for 25 years!!

  • Callie369

    You had better recheck your facts on ILLEGAL ALIENS in the prisons.
    Lou Dobbs is more truthful then the SPLC, and a heck of a lot more PATRIOTI.

  • Colin James Cameron

    I’ve been tracking the immigration issue in respect to its connections to racism, and was pleased to see Democracy Now call Dobbs on his Nativist routine.

    I uncovered another site commenting on Dobb’s appearance, one that regularly recycles some of the paranoid populist/libertarian right-wing memes.

    One thing I’d like to investigate is the claim by Paul Joseph Watson that the SPL advocates open borders. My understanding of “open borders” is as a catch phrase. You’re either with them or against any form of border control. And PJ Watson has a history of making these types of libelous statements.

    What is the SPL’s stance on immigration? I’d like have my facts at hand in case I decide to call the Watson brothers and Jones on their claims.

  • Josef

    I think my former writing partner summed it up best.

    “Lou Dobbs is doing for Latinos what Charles Coughlin did for Jews.”

  • unlucky 13

    Dobbs has the right to say what he wants.So does everyone else.It’s been time someone challenged Dobbs.He stirs up unreasonable passions directed at an extremely vulernable group.He agitates people like a relation of mine, to think immigrants without any official status are some sort of dire threat.Then he tops it off with proposals that would lead to massive ethnic cleansing of a people who ,for better or worse ,are doing ,all in all ,a good job of helping the U.S. to produce more than we would so produce without them.If they have no place in America ,as Dobbs contends ,then where?Mexico’s economy can no longer provide for it’s excess laborers.We have need of a larger workforce.NAFTA could be blamed ,however , both our nations are subject to it.If you makecapital global to what extent must labor be global to answer the needs of the new order?We may hate the free trade regime that’s choking us but that’s just the way it is right now.To do what Dobbs suggests and simply evict ,by force ,Millions of people reeks of Stalin’s crimes.A sane approach is impossible ,as far as policy is concerned , as long as hot-headed rhetoric blinds us to the fact that the mass movement of labor across borders presents us with a new challenge that must be addressed.Everyone involved should have a say when responsible policy is hacked out in the halls of government.Angry bluster only makes the process difficult.The Intelligence Report does well to point out weaknesses in Dobbs diatribes and so does Democracy Now.Calm reasoning will produce a solution not angry polemics.?

  • D.J. Racist Ryke

    Lou Dobbs is full of bulls*** as usual. Every American should know that. This loon only tells half-truths and distorts questions asked of him or his “reports”. I give him an “A” for acting. What a great liar that he is.
    Kudos to SPLC!!!! Keep em coming.

  • Gustavo Arellano

    Great job as always–but you guys missed another Dobbs/Cosman mistake.