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Blog of Mass Destruction

CNN, Lou Dobbs, And The LA Times

By The Reverend Published: December 6, 2007

In the CNN YouTube "debate" on November 15th, did CNN spend over 25% of the event talking and asking questions about immigration in order to promote Lou Dobb's daily CNN anti-immigrants program?

That's what this writer from the LA Times says....

CNN chose to devote the first 35 minutes of this critical debate to a single issue -- immigration. Now, if that leaves you scratching your head, it's probably because you're included in the 96% of Americans who do not think immigration is the most important issue confronting this country. We've got a pretty good fix concerning what's on the American mind right now, because the nonpartisan and highly reliable Pew Center has been regularly polling people since January on the issues that matter most to them. In fact, the center's most recent survey was conducted in the days leading up to Wednesday's debate.

....

....just 6% of the survey's national sample said that immigration was the most important electoral issue. Moreover, that number hasn't changed in a statistically meaningful way since the first of the year. In other words, more than nine out of 10 Americans think something matters more than immigration in this presidential election.

So, why did CNN make immigration the keystone of this debate? What standard dictated the decision to give that much time to an issue so remote from the majority of voters' concerns? The answer is that CNN's most popular news-oriented personality, Lou Dobbs, has made opposition to illegal immigration and free trade the centerpiece of his neonativist/neopopulist platform. In fact, Dobbs led into Wednesday's debate with a good solid dose of immigrant bashing.

....

...CNN intentionally directed the Republicans' debate to advance its own interests. Make immigration a bigger issue and you've made a bigger audience for Dobbs.

That's corruption, and it's why the Republican candidates had to spend more than half an hour "debating" an issue on which their differences are essentially marginal ....

Despite Lou Dobb's screeching in disagreement with this LA Times writer....the amount of time devoted to immigration at the start of the "debate" could be construed, I suppose, as "corrupt" self-promotion.

The Reverend has a bit of a different take, however.

The Republican Party is in trouble, electorally speaking. All 2008 election polls look bad for the GOP's chances. The Iraq war, the economy, health care, etc.....the most important issues to Americans, all favor Democrats. It's slim pickings to find some topic which Republicans are allegedly "strong" on.

Immigration, as I've mentioned before, is all the Republicans have left, and even that is questionable. Immigration is the topic wingnuts are still rallying around. It's all because of intolerance and racism, of course, but with the GOP it's whatever works. Talk-radio wingnuts were, proudly, one of the reasons a comprehensive immigration program couldn't make it into law last year. Trent Lott, no liberal, said as much.

So if CNN spent 35 minutes at the very beginning of their "debate" program on the immigration topic, a topic far down the ladder of importance to, you know, regular Americans....it could be construed as promoting Dobbs and his anti-immigration program, yes....BUT....it could also be construed as promoting a Republican Party on it's last leg, in need of a boost. Making immigration into a bigger issue because Republicans WANT it to be a bigger issue in next year's election.

25% of "debate" time given over to immigration talk, I suggest, was a gesture by CNN to boost the GOP candidates chances by making immigration seem to be a larger issue of concern than it actually is. Sure, it appeals to racists and those who are intolerant, but that's all, really, the Republican Party has left.

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