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Errors and extremist sources on Lou Dobbs Tonight

• In April 14, 2005, Dobbs said an "invasion of illegal aliens" was bringing "highly contagious diseases" to America "decades after those diseases had been eradicated" here. Reporter Christine Romans stated that more than 7,000 new cases of leprosy had been reported in the previous three years. The real number of new leprosy cases from 2002 through 2004 was 398, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dobbs and Romans said their source for the 7,000 figure was the late Madeleine Cosman, a lawyer who told an anti-immigrant conference in 2005 that "most" Latino immigrant men "molest girls under 12, although some specialize in boys, and some in nuns."

• On Nov. 4, 2003, Dobbs' said "illegal aliens" are "taking up a third of the cells in our federal penitentiaries." The reality: The Government Accountability Office reported in 2005 that 27 percent of federal inmates in 2004 were immigrants – including those here legally. Another GAO study estimated that just 12 percent of non-U.S. citizens in federal custody were there for committing violent crimes. Dobbs often covers crime issues relating to undocumented persons, but several studies debunk the notion that there is a relatively high level of criminality among undocumented immigrants.

• On Oct. 30, 2003, a Dobbs reporter claimed that a National Academy of Sciences report showed an economic loss of up to $10 billion from immigration. The report actually showed that immigrants caused a net gain in the U.S. gross national product of between $1 billion and $10 billion.

• On February 10, 2006, state Rep. Russell Pearce of Arizona was quoted as saying, "You know, the illegal aliens kill more people on an annual basis than we probably lost in the Iraq war to date in the United States. It's enough is enough." At that time, approximately 2,500 of U.S. servicemen and women had died in Iraq. Though there were 16,692 murders in the U.S. in 2005, there is no data that show how many murders were committed by undocumented immigrants.

• On May 19, 2006, Dobbs had on as a guest Robert Rector, a senior research fellow from the Heritage Foundation, discussing his recent report about the number of immigrants that would come to the U.S. if the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill then under consideration by the Senate were to be passed. Dobbs said, "Your initial report suggested well over 100 million over the next 10 years." Though Dobbs noted that the White House disputed Rector's numbers, Dobbs supportedRector's research, telling him, "thank you for paying close attention." As to Rector's numbers, they defy logic. As demographers quickly pointed out, his minimum figure of 100 million is equal to almost the entire current population of Mexico. His high-end estimate of 180 million over the next 20 years would require that the equivalent of the current population of Central America be added, too. A series of leading demographers told the San Francisco Chronicle on June 20, 2006, that Rector's projections were vastly overstated, ignored the effects of emigration and used unreasonably high estimates of legalization and naturalization.

• On May 23, 2006, CNN correspondent Casey Wian referred to Mexican President Vicente Fox's visit to the U.S. as a "Mexican military incursion." Wian went on to say that Fox's trip could be called "the Vicente Fox Aztlan tour," referring to the conspiracy theory, popular among anti-immigration zealots, that Mexico is plotting to "reconquer" the American Southwest. As Wian spoke, a graphic appeared on the screen – a map of the United States highlighting the seven southwestern states that Mexico supposedly covets and calls "Aztlan." Remarkably, it was prominently sourced to theCouncil of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist hate group that has described blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity" and compared pop singer Michael Jackson to an ape.

Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project and a top anti-immigration leader, has appeared some 20 times on Dobbs' show. But Dobbs has never reported that Simcox says he has seen the Chinese army secretly maneuvering along the U.S.-Mexico border or that he is a member of the speakers' bureau of the extreme-right John Birch Society.

Glenn Spencer, head of the American Patrol – regarded as a hate group by the Center – has been interviewed on the Dobbs show at least twice, on Jan. 7 and June 4, 2004. Spencer promotes the idea that the Mexican government is involved in a secret plot to take over the Southwest. He has also predicted that "thousands will die" in a forthcoming Mexican invasion. Dobbs did not mention the criticism of Spencer's group, the fact that he has spoken at other hate group gatherings or his actions in shooting up a neighbor's garage.