Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Lou Dobbs Responds to 'Scurrilous' Attack by 'NYT'

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Lou Dobbs Responds to 'Scurrilous' Attack by 'NYT'

Article excerpt

Lou Dobbs is fighting mad and fighting back concerning the widely-publicized commentary by popular New York Times busienss columnist David Leonhardt on his alleged misuse of statistics, particularly in regard to the incidence of leprosy in this country -- and its link to illegal immigrants.

Leonhardt had concluded, "The problem with Mr. Dobbs is that he mixes opinion and untruths. He is the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans....if Mr. Dobbs's arguments were really so good, don't you think he would be able to stick to the facts? And if CNN were serious about being 'the most trusted name in news,' as it claims to be, don't you think it would be big enough to issue an actual correction?"

Dobbs opened his show Wednesday night declaring, "Tonight we'll set the record straight. We'll tell you who's really telling the truth and who the commies are and who the fascists are, who have the temerity to attack me."

Much later in the program he returned to the subject. That part of the transcript follows. E&P is attempting to contact Leonhardt for a reply. *

Now, if I may, a personal note tonight that I'd like to share with you.

I've been over the years, because of our reporting on controversial issues and my strongly held beliefs on those issues, attacked -- and usually pretty vigorously -- by both the left wing and the right wing of this nation's media, both mainstream and otherwise, and of course the politicians that form the extremes of our political spectrum.

As a matter of fact, I'm regularly attacked by the right wing -- the biggest business lobbyists in the country, "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page, the Bush administration -- for my criticism of so-called free trade policies and outsourcing.

I'm regularly attacked by the left wing as well -- the Southern Poverty Law Center, "The New York Times," "The Nation," MALDEF and MEChA -- for my opposition to illegal immigration.

Today, "The New York Times" published a column that picks up where an advertisement, a paid advertisement in "The Times," paid for by the Southern Poverty Law Center, left off two weeks ago.

Today's "New York Times" column is primarily a personal attack on me, focuses on an ad-lib on the set of this broadcast uttered more than two years ago by Christine Romans on a number of cases of leprosy in this country. An unscripted ad-lib, not a report -- by the way, we've never done a report on leprosy until we had to set this record straight a couple of weeks ago. That's over four and a half years of reporting on that issue.

The second issue, accusing us of overstating the number of non- citizens in our federal prisons. That number reported on this broadcast three and a half years ago.

Now, no one hates making a mistake, I assure you, more than I do. And on this broadcast, we do make mistakes -- not often, mind you, but certainly enough to frustrate me mightily, and with barely tolerable frequency.

But today's scurrilous personal attack from "The New York Times" columnist David Leonhardt, carrying the water of the Southern Poverty Law Center, also has the facts wrong. …

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