quinta-feira, 12 de novembro de 2009

Dobbs redux

Lou Dobbs is no longer on television, and it's thanks to you and thousands of others who demanded that CNN take him off the air.1

This summer, after Lou Dobbs began using his TV show to give legitimacy to bogus questions about President Obama's citizenship, you and more than 25,000 ColorOfChange.org members called on CNN President Jon Klein to fire Dobbs. Our voices were part of a wave of pressure and outrage that embarrassed CNN for providing Dobbs with a platform to spread the "birther" conspiracy theory. We helped start a conversation about how Dobbs' presence at CNN was damaging their reputation as a respectable news outlet.

Soon after, our friends at Presente.org launched the "Basta Dobbs" campaign ("basta" means "enough" in Spanish). Presente.org ran an amazing campaign that put a spotlight on Dobbs' history of stoking hate and spreading lies about immigrants and Latinos. Presente.org confronted CNN in many different ways, pointing out at every opportunity that Dobbs' presence on CNN was out of step with the network's attempts to reach out to Latino viewers, and to bill themselves as a trusted source of news. As a result of Presente's organizing, along with the efforts of several other organizations, the chorus of voices calling for to CNN to drop Lou Dobbs became too powerful for them to ignore.

Yesterday, Lou Dobbs announced his resignation and hosted his last TV show on CNN. It's a remarkable victory for everyone who cares about putting an end to racial fear-mongering and misinformation in the media. You should be proud that you and 25,000 other ColorOfChange members played an important role in making this happen.

If you want to continue to be a part of the amazing work that Presente.org does, we'd like to encourage you to sign up to be a part of Presente, and ask your friends and family to do the same. You can sign up here:


Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
November 12th, 2009

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU -- your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:



1. "In Surprise, Lou Dobbs Quits CNN," New York Times, 11-11-09

One down, an entire "news" channel to go...

PRESS WATCH -- DOBBS CALLS IT QUITS -- by POLITICO's Michael Calderone: 'Veteran CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, whose populist views on the perils of immigration and his repeated questioning of President Barack Obama's birthplace made him a controversial figure on a network that has traditionally eschewed opinion, announced Wednesday night that he is resigning. While Dobbs will continue his radio show, he gave no indication of whether he will stay in television-it's been rumored that he could end up on Fox. Dobbs said on his show 'Lou Dobbs Tonight,' that he's now 'considering a number of options and directions,' and that CNN president Jon Klein has released him from his contract, which is not up until 2011. He has been with CNN for 30 years.'

quarta-feira, 11 de novembro de 2009

Glenn Beck "was right" about Obama? -- Help expose Fox News

Last week, when asked about Glenn Beck calling President Obama "racist," Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Fox News Channel's parent company (News Corp) said "if you actually assess what he was talking about, [Beck] was right."1

On Tuesday, after his endorsement of Beck's race-baiting started to draw attention,2 Murdoch claimed, through a spokesperson, that he didn't mean he agrees with Beck.3 It's ridiculous -- what else could he have possibly meant?

Murdoch calls the shots at Fox News, and he's just made it clear that Fox's problem with race starts in his office. Now that he's been caught, he's trying to play dumb -- he doesn't want to be held accountable for Beck's rhetoric, but he won't denounce or stop it either.

It won't work, if we stand up. Tell Murdoch he has a choice -- he can stand by the fact that he agrees with Glenn Beck; or he can tell us why he doesn't and what he's going to do about it. If enough of us call him out, we can create a powerful conversation about Fox's race-baiting that will help us hold them accountable at the highest level.

Please sign the petition to Murdoch, and ask your friends and family to do the same:


While Beck is the worst offender on the Fox News Channel, the network has a long, deep history of engaging in inflammatory racial rhetoric: attacking Black leaders, Black culture, and Black institutions.4,5,6 And a number of Murdoch's recent business decisions suggest that he is consciously building a media empire -- at Fox News and elsewhere -- that attracts viewers by appealing to racial fear and paranoia.

Last month, Murdoch put Don Imus (fired from MSNBC for his infamous "nappy headed hos" comment) back on television on the Fox Business Network.7 And a few weeks ago, Murdoch personally fired Marc Lamont Hill -- one of Fox News' few black commentators -- in response to a racially charged smear campaign led by a News Corp shareholder, who said Hill has "reputation of defending cop killers and racists."8

Murdoch's right-hand men

Murdoch chooses his employees carefully, and his agenda is obvious when you look at the people he's chosen to run his media organizations.

Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, made his name by using racial paranoia to propel Republican politicians to victory, starting in the 60s. He engineered key elements of Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy, and a notorious race-baiting ad campaign that helped the first President Bush defeat Michael Dukakis. Ailes was also the executive producer of Rush Limbaugh's failed television show.9

Another News Corp property, the New York Post, led by Col Allan, also has a troubling record on race. Earlier this year, the Post caused an uproar after printing a cartoon that appeared to depict President Obama as a dead monkey, covered in blood after being shot by police. Instead of taking the widespread critical response to the cartoon seriously, Allan issued a short, insensitive statement that took no responsibility, and attacked critics of the cartoon.10

Last month, the Post fired a Latina editor, Sandra Guzman, apparently as retaliation for having spoken out against the cartoon when it was published. Guzman is now suing News Corp, the newspaper, and Allan. She says that the Post is a "hostile work environment where female employees and employees of color have been subjected to pervasive and systemic discrimination and/or unlawful harassment based on their gender, race, color and/or national origin." Guzman says that Col Allan and others at the paper routinely made inappropriate sexual and racial comments. She also says that the paper's D.C. bureau chief told her that the Post's goal was to "destroy Barack Obama."11

Holding Murdoch, Beck and Fox News accountable

When Murdoch publicly endorsed some of Beck's most inflammatory comments, it seemed he was making it very clear that he approves of Fox's race-baiting. Now, apparently after realizing how damaging it would be for him to publicly support the rhetoric that cost Glenn Beck 80 advertisers, he's trying to backpedal. But Murdoch is not willing to distance himself from Beck either. He knows that he could face a backlash from Fox's viewers if he appears critical of the racially charged programming that attracts many of them to the network in the first place.

So Murdoch wants to have it both ways -- he wants to build a network that makes money by pandering to racial fear and paranoia, but he doesn't want Fox to be seen as cable's home for race-baiting.

We can't let him get away with it. Murdoch made a mistake by speaking too openly about what he and his media organizations stand for. He rarely makes mistakes like this, and we need to seize the opportunity to expose Fox's problem with race.

It starts by demanding that Murdoch explain what he meant, and be clear about whether or not race-baiting is part of the program at Fox. He may or may not respond, but if enough of us speak out, we can create a conversation that makes it clear who is ultimately responsible for Fox's race-baiting. It's just one step in starting to bring some accountability to the leadership of Fox News and News Corp -- but it's an important one.

Join us in calling out Rupert Murdoch, and ask your friends and family to do the same. It only takes a minute:


Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
November 11th, 2009

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU -- your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:



1. Rupert Murdoch Interview, Sky News, 11-06-09

2. "An Open Letter to Rupert Murdoch: What exactly do you mean?" Huffington Post, 11-10-09

3. "Murdoch doesn't consider Obama racist: Spox," Politico, 11-10-09

4. "On FOX, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson and Mike Gallagher attacked Kwanzaa," Media Matters, 12-23-04

5. "Matalin: 'I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they're keeping ... their African-American brothers enslaved,'" Media Matters, 2-09-06

6. "Defending Bennett's comments, Rev. Peterson cited alleged violence at Superdome to claim that most blacks 'lack moral character,'" Media Matters, 10-03-05

7. "Breaking: Don Imus Joins Fox Biz," TV Newser, 09-03-09

8. "FNC Liberal Pundit Marc Lamont Hill Fired," TV Newser, 10-16-09

9. "Fox President Roger Ailes' History Of Race-Baiting," Media Matters, 10-30-09

10. "NY Post Defends Cartoon, Slams Al Sharpton" Huffington Post, 02-18-09

11. "New York Post Lawsuit: Shocking Allegations Made By Fired Employee Sandra Guzman," Huffington Post, 11-10-09