CNN’s Special On Latinos Stirs Protests Against Anchor

CNNs Special on Latinos Stirs Protests Against Anchor

By Brian Stelter
The New York Times, October 22, 2009

CNNs broadcast of a four-hour documentary about Latinos this week turned into a political rallying cry for activist groups that are calling on the cable news channel to fire Lou Dobbs, a veteran anchor with anti-immigration views.

An array of minority groups held small protests in New York and other cities on Wednesday, the first night of the 'Latino in America' presentation. They are trying to highlight what they say are years of lies about immigration by Mr. Dobbs, who anchors the 7 p.m. hour on CNN.

CNN, a unit of Time Warner, has not commented on the protests, or covered them on its news programs. One of the activists featured in the documentary said on Wednesday she tried to bring up what she called Mr. Dobbs 'hatred' on one of the channels news programs, but that her remarks were cut from the interview.

Isabel Garcia, a civil rights attorney who was featured in the documentary and attended an protest against Mr. Dobbs in Tucson on Wednesday, said that she felt censored by CNN after the channel edited her comments about the anchor out of an interview.

She had anticipated a 15-minute conversation about immigration opposite the Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, a staunch believer in immigration enforcement, on the prime-time program 'Anderson Cooper 360.'

During the taped interview Wednesday, she said she made several unprompted comments about Mr. Dobbs.

She said that she called Mr. Arpaio and Mr. Dobbs 'the two most dangerous men to our communities,' and added that 'because of them, our communities are being terrorized in a real way.' She also asserted that CNN was 'promoting lies and hate about our community' by broadcasting Mr. Dobbs program. The comments were not included when the interview was broadcast.

A CNN spokeswoman said, 'the segment was tied to CNNs documentary Latino in America, which is a far-reaching look at the successes and challenges Latinos are facing including illegal immigration. As with all pretaped interviews, they are edited for time and relevance to the topic of discussion. The debate between Isabel Garcia and Joe Arpaio was no exception.'