Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly: Fueling America with Lies
While talking to some high school ESL teachers about immigration issues in Ulster County, New York, one of them said to me “If I was to believe what the media says about immigration and undocumented immigrants, I would believe that the majority are criminals and would be afraid of having immigrants in my neighborhood. But I know is not all true.” Like this ESL teacher, most Americans are exposed to a message of fear and anger when the issue of illegal immigration and undocumented immigrants is discussed on influential cable news channels like CNN and Fox News. And unfortunately not every American gets to have the experience of this teacher to realize that what is reported by cable news about undocumented immigrants is not true.
A recent report by a media watchdog group, Media Matters, documents and dispels myths and misinformation about illegal immigration and undocumented immigrants that are promoted by cable news channels on a daily basis. According to the report, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, CNN Headline News’ Glenn Beck, and Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly are the loudest voices leading the effort to fuel viewers with an anti-immigrant sentiment. The report focuses on two myths: 1) undocumented immigrants and crime and the cost to social services, 2) the urban legend that there is a secret plan to construct a "NAFTA Superhighway" running from Canada to Mexico. Paul Waldman, Media Matters’ Senior Fellow, reveals the truth behind these myths and indicates how Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly are all guilty of irresponsible journalism.
It is not the role of media to fuel the American public with lies and myths. The media’s responsibility is to inform the public so that they can make informed decisions in the political process. But these untrustworthy reporting practices do not help the public to understand the truth about immigration and undocumented immigrants. False reporting on the issue of undocumented immigrants is hurting rather than fostering an objective and serious immigration debate.