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SPLC Asks CNN to Remove Dobbs

As regular readers of this blog know, we’ve had a tangle or two with CNN’s in-house immigrant-basher, Lou Dobbs. In 2007, we had a major dustup with the host of “Lou Dobbs Tonight” over his wholly false claim that 7,000 new cases of leprosy had appeared in a recent three-year period in the United States, due at least in part to immigrants. (The reality was that about 400 new cases appeared during the period, and it’s not known if any of them were linked to immigrants.) The battle subjected Dobbs a series of humiliations, including being described by The New York Times as a man with “a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.”

To the surprise of very few familiar with Dobbs, the CNN host is at it again. Now, he’s joined with the conspiracy nuts pushing the wholly unsubstantiated claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, and therefore cannot legally hold the office of president. The fact that this claim has been disproved by CNN’s own reporters seems to mean nothing at all to Dobbs, who has come in for criticism in recent days from all kinds of quarters for joining hands with the “birthers.”

Today, Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, sent a letter to CNN President Jonathan Klein asking for action. “Respectable news organizations should not employ reporters willing to peddle racist conspiracy theories and false propaganda,” Cohen concludes in his letter. “It’s time for CNN to remove Mr. Dobbs from the airwaves.”

Cohen also wrote Klein in 2007 about Dobbs' leprosy claims, but CNN took no action. Dobbs has also promoted a series of other falsehoods and conspiracy theories about immigrants.

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