Yesterday, I received an email from Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy For America. Frankly, it was a shockingly anti-democracy appeal asking me to contact CNN and demand Lou Dobbs be taken off the air. No. I will, however, contact CNN and demand they protect journalists (in the broadest sense of the word) and free speech.
Quoting the email (links added), “Yesterday, our friends at Media Matters for America, who are dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media, caught Lou Dobbs promoting hate and inciting violence towards Governor Howard Dean.
With violence from right-wing extremist groups on the rise and Republican backed mobs hanging cardboard versions of members of congress in effigy, Lou Dobbs’ statement is dangerous. Enough is enough.
The email supplied this link to justify its point. In the audio clip while Dobbs was rambling about the resurgence and resilience of the former Vermont Governor, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, and former family practitioner, Dr. Howard Dean, he said, “He’s a bloodsucking leftist – I mean, he’s a, you gotta put a stake through his heart to stop this guy.” While I disagree with Dobbs’ political stance and his remarks, Dobbs was obviously making a vampire reference. Not a call for violence.
Jim, as you might know, is Howard Dean’s brother and runs the fundraising mailing list that remains from Howard’s unsuccessful presidential campaign. I think it is a wonderful thing for Dr. Dean to help out his brother by creating a job for him. But Jim is doing damage to the cause and maybe it is time for him to go. If he had asked in his email for me to call CNN and tell them what I think about Dobbs’ remarks, that would have been fine. He didn’t.
Time was, and still is, that ratings rule the network decisions on anchors and commentators. Boycott Dobbs and CNN will trade him to Fox where he might fit in better. Ask for him to be fired and you put everyone speaking publicly at risk. Sure, Dobbs long ago crossed the line from a popular, if not respectable, business anchor to promoting his own political agenda. He didn’t just cross the line, among other things, he is a blatant immigration-reform and public option-healthcare opponent. Sure, Dobbs’ “relentless promotion of debunked, racially charged conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birth certificate have already seriously damaged CNN’s credibility” – again, quoting the email. But Jim Dean is advocating a mob-style action to shut down free speech – a similar type of mob-style action that many have accused conservatives for using in the recent town hall meetings – it is reprehensible. It is anti-democratic for America.
Please don’t call or write DemocracyForAmerica.com asking for him to be fired. That, too, would be anti-free speech. But do tell them what you think. Oh, yeah, and boycott Dobbs.