Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Who Are Those 800,000 Who Watch Lou Dobbs Every Night?
Who are those 800,000 Americans that watch Lou Dobbs everynight? What is going on inside their minds that makes them think his information is accurate?
I watched his show for about 5 minutes last week. He looked so incredibly angry - with a sneer on his face. If so many people are watching him, does that mean they are just as angry - you know this kind of thing is contagious. Like the bug going around that can't be cured... it destroys you from the inside, your mind and your soul.
Sitting in front of the tv, I thought for a moment of another orator who was great at mobilizing the masses. He came into power in the early 1930s in Germany. He was angry too.
Dobbs clarifies his 'idiot' line
The CNN host apologizes for so labeling N.Y.'s governor but says Spitzer's views on driver's licenses for illegals are 'idiotic.'
By Larry McShane, Associated Press
Los Angeles Times
October 29, 2007
NEW YORK -- Lou Dobbs is sorry about calling Gov. Eliot Spitzer an idiot.
As for ripping the New York Democrat as arrogant, spineless and "a spoiled rich-kid brat," the host of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight" stands by those nationally broadcast broadsides.
Dobbs has made Spitzer an almost daily target over his recent plan to ease restrictions on illegal immigrants seeking New York state driver's licenses, mixing vitriol with sarcasm while endlessly lambasting the governor's decision.
The lifelong Republican has taken on politicians of every stripe, as when he blasted the Bush administration over port security. But his nightly diatribe against Spitzer is notable for its intensity and for elevating a state proposal onto the national stage.
"What he's doing is an outrageous, arrogant abuse of power," Dobbs said before a recent show. "He's pandering to a constituency aligned directly against the interests of U.S. and New York state citizens."
Dobbs' ire boiled over Tuesday night when he ripped Spitzer as an idiot -- and then offered an on-air mea culpa.
"I'm the idiot," Dobbs said. "Governor, I apologize for calling you one. Your policies are idiotic. But I have to apologize for calling you an idiot."
Dobbs shouldn't hold his breath waiting for a bouquet of roses (the state flower) and a thank-you note from Spitzer.
"Mr. Dobbs has clearly demonstrated that he is not interested in a real debate on New York's driver's license policy change," said Jennifer Givner, a Spitzer spokeswoman. "He has repeatedly refused to offer balanced coverage of the issue."
Dobbs has turned the first-term governor into a verbal piñata over his September announcement that illegal immigrants with valid foreign passports could obtain a driver's license.
Spitzer has said the plan, set to go into effect in December, would make New York safer by bringing its 1 million illegal immigrants "out of the shadows."
The decision reversed a 2002 order by then-Gov. George Pataki issued after the 9/11 attacks and placed Spitzer directly in Dobbs' cable cross hairs. But Dobbs, while perhaps the highest-profile critic of the plan, is not alone: A state poll showed 72% of New Yorkers opposed Spitzer on this issue, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also expressed skepticism.
Spitzer, in a speech last week, noted that "despite the hysteria this policy has created in some circles, it is simply a return to the policy we had for most of our state's history."
Dobbs is hardly swayed by the history lesson, complaining that the relaxed license requirement could produce voter fraud and raise security issues. Spitzer has ignored repeated invitations to appear on the program, Dobbs said; the show has turned down guests supporting Spitzer, including former national counter-terrorism advisor Richard A. Clarke, according to Givner.
Dobbs, who has made immigration one of his show's centerpiece issues, was criticized last week in a New York Times editorial for his Spitzer bashing.
"Mr. Dobbs has trained his biggest guns on Mr. Spitzer, branding him with puerile epithets like 'spoiled rich-kid brat' and depicting his policy as some sort of sanctuary program for the 9/11 hijackers," the Times wrote. "Someday there may be a calm debate, in Albany and nationally, about immigrant drivers. With Mr. Dobbs at the megaphone, for now there is only histrionics and outrage."
Dobbs isn't expecting any apology from the Times. And he has few kind words for the newspaper.
"The New York Times is the house organ for Gov. Spitzer," Dobbs said. "They're wrong on this issue, as they are on many others."
Dobbs draws a nightly audience of roughly 800,000, making him second in CNN viewers to Larry King's nightly program. He has no intention of lightening up on Spitzer.
"Why should I?" Dobbs asked. "He's wrong. This issue is of vital importance to the state of New York and the nation. My job as an advocacy journalist is to confront directly abuses of power and wrongheaded politics."
And sure enough, 24 hours after his "idiot" apology, Dobbs was again taking shots at Spitzer.
"This governor is irresponsible," Dobbs told his audience. "It's clear arrogance. . . . He has declared himself to be what people hoped he would not be -- and that is an arrogant tool of special interests."