Koppleman con't on Ramos and Compean
... the jury's verdict: a bad shooting, a coverup and damning testimony from fellow agents that led to an uncontroversial conviction. Seven months later, a judge sentenced Ramos and Compean to 11 and 12 years in prison, respectively.
But by the time of their sentencing, the right wing had discovered the agents and begun constructing a new narrative. Ramos and Compean's newfound supporters soon settled on a radically different version of the shooting, cobbled together from speculation, rumors, misstatements of fact and various unproven assertions cherry-picked from the case the defense presented at trial.
...There are five major players in the transformation of Ramos and Compean from cops who tried to cover up a bad shooting into martyred heroes of the great conservative pushback against illegal immigration. The most important of them is Lou Dobbs, the host of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight." Three other players -- journalist Sara A. Carter, activist Andy Ramirez and union official T.J. Bonner -- are previously obscure figures who appeared on Dobbs' show. The fifth is Jerome Corsi...
...Lou Dobbs, whose show straddles the line between news and advocacy, has nearly doubled his ratings in the past two years by taking a strong stand against illegal immigration. Almost nightly, he includes an opinionated segment on immigration under such rubrics as "Border Betrayal" and "Busted Border." As soon as he noticed the Ramos and Compean story in August 2006, he became the prime mover in its coverage. His program has so far featured more than 100 segments on the Ramos and Compean case, including interviews with both agents that have been clipped and rebroadcast in other episodes.
Dobbs set the tone for his approach to the Ramos and Compean case with his first segment about the agents, on Aug. 9, 2006. (CNN did not respond to a request for an interview with Dobbs.) He introduced a short interview with Ignacio Ramos by saying, "Support is flooding in from all across the country tonight for two Border Patrol agents in Texas who could be sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting a Mexican drug smuggler. Amazingly, federal prosecutors allowed the smuggler to walk free." The next day, Dobbs ended a second segment on the agents with one of his famous audience polls. The question for viewers was, "Do you believe the Justice Department should be giving immunity to illegal alien drug smugglers in order to prosecute U.S. Border Patrol agents for breaking administrative regulations? ... Yes or no."