Roberto Lovato, a founding member of Presente.org, a Latino advocacy group, said in a statement, “We won’t allow the network to court us as viewers while, at the same time, they allow Dobbs to spread lies and misinformation about us each night.”
Neither CNN nor Soledad O’Brien, who presented the four-hour series, has offered a public comment on the protests; in fact, according to several stories, the network didn’t even cover them. But even worse for CNN, pro-immigrant attorney Lorena García, one of the few people who were profiled positively in the series told the Times the network clipped her own comments:
She had expected a 15-minute conversation about immigration opposite Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., and a staunch supporter in immigration enforcement, on the prime-time program “Anderson Cooper 360.” During the taped interview Wednesday, she said she made several unprompted comments about Mr. Dobbs.
She said she called Mr. Arpaio and Mr. Dobbs “the two most dangerous men to our communities,” and said that “because of them, our communities are being terrorized in a real way.” She also asserted that CNN was “promoting lies and hate about our community” by broadcasting Mr. Dobbs’s program. The comments were not included when the interview was shown Wednesday night.
“They heavily deleted what I did get to say,” she said.
CNN said the segment in question was tied to “Latino in America.”
“As with all pre-taped interviews, they are edited for time and relevance to the topic of discussion,” a spokeswoman said. “The debate between Isabel Garcia and Joe Arpaio was no exception.”
Of course, CNN’s and Anderson Cooper’s willingness to broadcast a debate between García and Arpaio is also questionable, given the ads featuring Cooper hyping the talk as “extreme.” As I wrote in my reviews, the series’ and/or O’Brien’s inability or unwillingness to place their stories in a larger context on the air, or to acknowledge the disparity between figures like O’Brien and Dobbs and what role they or the network have in the pictures America at large receives of its’ Latino immigrant populations, only weakened whatever good CNN thinks would come out of the series.
Soledad O’Brien says she wants Latino In America to “start a conversation.” Unfortunately for viewers, the series’ message seems to be, what? Woe is us?Abandon ship?What did Brown ever do to you?
Grounded in depressing case studies and missed questions, the series’ first installment was less “Latinos In America” and more like “Latinos For Lou Dobbs’ Audience.” Most of the people featured were not “changing” their communities – they were being victimized in or by them. They were pregnant, suicidal (or pregnant and suicidal), caught in an immigration raid, losing their cultural roots, facing an uphill job struggle or isolated in their churches. The premiere’s first profile, of Univision TV chef Lorena García, was the only one that focused on somebody doing something positive – in her case, building her own brand in spite of skepticism over her “accent.” Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World