The only surprise was how long it took CNN to suspend contributor Roland S. Martin after the uproar he instigated during the Super Bowl this past Sunday. What’s not surprising is who hasn’t gotten the same punishment for similar offenses.
Which is not to excuse Martin for any of the poorly thought-out joke he threw out on Twitter during the game about this (NSFWish) underwear ad.
After several months of a focused internet and social media campaign pressuring CNN to fire Lou Dobbs, the xenophobic pundit announced tonight he is leaving CNN effectively immediately.
BastaDobbs.org–the virtual Latino coalition which led the campaign against CNN–is claiming victory. “We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has this legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate,” said Roberto Lovato. Lovato, who is an accomplished writer, is also the founder of the Latino-advocacy group Presente.org, the lead organization behind the anti-Dobbs campaign. “The community is newly empowered and energized,” he continued, “and we are ready to fight for a respectful and civil media discourse when it comes to immigration coverage on mainstream news.”
I couldn’t be happier that Lou Dobbs’ uncritical voice of hate is off the air. I am a firm defender of anyone’s right to free speech, but I am also fiercely opposed to the notion that we are better as a society if we provide a platform for all speech. Television news–and cable news in particular–has moved into an era where providing a “safe space” for the voices from the political extreme has come to substitute for critical discourse and constructive debate. That isn’t the news and it isn’t “fair and balanced.” It’s petty, and it’s lazy, and it needs to evolve.