Ana Perez speaks at a press conference for

Seven local immigrants’ rights activists gathered Wednesday in front of camera crews in a cramped restaurant on 24th Street  and made a simple appeal: CNN, drop Lou Dobbs.

As waitresses brought out soup and tortillas to a young Latino couple in the front of the otherwise quiet restaurant, the protesters held up a poster with a caricature of the commentator and spoke out against what they said was his hostile coverage of immigrants.

“As a community, we’re standing up and saying ‘no’ to that kind of journalism,” said Eric Quezada, director of Dolores Street Community Services and one of the organizers.

The event was timed to coincide with the news network’s airing Wednesday evening of the first installment of “Latino In America,” a four-hour documentary that looks at how the U.S. Latino Population is changing what it means to be an American.

Similar press conferences were organized Wednesday in New York City, Atlanta, and 16 other cities across the country, as part of a national campaign called, which translates as EnoughDobbs and aims to get CNN to cut its ties with the anchor who has a nightly opinion and talk program called “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

“We think you can’t have it both ways,” Quezada said in an interview. “We believe if you want to break into the Latino market, which is what this is about, don’t do it while you still have Dobbs on the air.”

Latinos represent one of the fastest growing segments for marketers and, last year, Hispanic media was one of the few places where media ad sales grew. The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies estimates that the country’s more than 45 million Latinos will have a combined purchasing power of $992 billion. From 1990 to 2007, that same group’s purchasing power grew by a compound annual rate of 8.7 percent compared to 4.8 percent in the general population, according to Market Segment Research.

This wasn’t the first time that Dobbs, who regularly refers to “criminal illegal aliens” on his show and once stated “Mexico has become our enemy” has been criticized for his views on immigration.

In 2007, he said on-air that one-third of the federal prison population was illegal immigrants and that the number was growing. The U.S. Department of Justice refuted his reporting, saying the percentage was much smaller and falling.

That same year, the anchor spent nearly a quarter (22 percent) of his airtime talking about the issue, according to Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Center. His ratings climbed during that same time period, as immigration comprised more of the country’s news coverage. More recently, they have dipped.

“Lou Dobbs has traditionally devoted a lot of time to immigration,” said Mark Jurkowitz, associate director for the group at Pew, adding, “He’d certainly be someone for tougher enforcement.”

But the contradictions inherent in a network employing an anchor with strong opinions on the one hand, while pursuing coverage that might run counter to those opinions, is a reality of the cable news business, added Jurkowitz. “This is not to denigrate the protesters in any way,” he said. “It’s really to say that cable news has this very unique brand of programming that’s highly editorial.”

A CNN spokesperson declined to comment on the press conferences saying only that “Latino In America” and “Lou Dobbs Tonight” were separate programs.

Back at the restaurant, Ana Perez, executive director of the Central American Resource Center, and another local organizer of the press conference, said she watched CNN regularly, but that her problem was with what she perceived as an editorial imbalance on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.”

Asked whether she would tune into “Latino in America” this evening, Perez said: “I’m going to give it a chance.”

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Noah Buhayar is print and multimedia student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He reports primarily on business topics. His work has appeared in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, CBS’s business site and MarketWatch. Before coming to the Bay Area, he taught a semester of high school Spanish in Hawaii, spent a year in southern Chile on a Fulbright grant, and interned with the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer’s online division.

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  1. I know some illegal immigrants. The work hard every day. They are very nice people. They care about America. They want to be included. They are HAPPY to pay their taxes.

    A LOT of you have no idea what you are talking about.


  2. California the Golden state, American future, is fast becoming the poster child for an bankrupt third world State!

    This will result in a population depending on Welfare and the Democrat party, thus assuring the lock on power for the Socialist Democrat party of the United States of Mexico!

  3. Brittancus- posted his words on more han a dozen websites & Ive yet to understand his ideas in regards to the issue. Funny how you believe true americans are the ones who feel how you do- Maybe one day all the Immigrants will go away – I wonder who youll blame for your problems then

  4. Yes but change the channel from CNN/Dobbs to TV en Espanol, and you will be shocked. Spanish-language TV still flies under the radar in taste and decency. Watch how a black man acting as a new exchange student from Africa gets taunted by banana-throwing, epithet- shouting actors in a ‘show’ that manages to cover most every ugly stereotype: that black men are thieves, rapists, and monkeys, just to list a few. Just Google the phrase MEXMUNDOVISION and you will freak out at the Racist ‘comedy’ presented in America, which amazingly manages to escape notice.

  5. Without Lou Dobb’s commentary Americans would never know about the cloaked agenda of the open border zealots. Lou brought the un-exaggerated truth about the 20 to 30 million illegal immigration invasion from every corner of the world?

    Our government needs to prove to the American workers that they mean what they say? That means secure borders and interior immigration enforcement. E-Verify is part of nationwide enforcement, a tool that has caused hysteria amongst the open border demagogues. E-verify was nearly sold out by Sen. Harry Reid , Nancy Pelosi and even Janet Napolitano. But this time they failed to arrest it’s capability to remove E-Verify from the Parthenon of tools, that addresses the illegal immigration invasion. Brought into the spotlight by Senator Sessions, they Democratic leadership were unable to sink it beyond the enlightened eyes of the attentive public. As with the 1986 Immigration control and reform bill, those anti-sovereignty organizations have–NEVER–tried to–ENFORCE–the law.

    So now those catering to big business are repeatedly saying its broken. like any immigration enforcement laws, Democrats and Republicans alike over decades have refused to enforce the border. A new survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports reveals that 56% of Americans say that federal immigration policies encourage illegal immigration, and 64% believe that local law enforcement should conduct raids in places where illegal aliens gather to find work. Only 19% opposed the raids compared to 24% who opposed such raids back in April. Another condemnation by faith groups is Sen. Chuck Schumer’s attempt to claim overwhelming evangelical Christian support for his pending amnesty legislation has crumbled. His master plan was to use the staff and leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) to give the impression of near unanimity.

    The NAE tried. But after the members in the pew erupted, only 11 of the 40 NAE member denominations have been willing to sign on to endorse amnesty and Schumer’s “comprehensive immigration reform” agenda. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) offered an amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science (CSJ) appropriations bill that would have prevented CSJ funds from going to cities or localities with “sanctuary” policies (i.e., those cities that prohibit their police officers from assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement, refuse to report criminal illegal aliens, and act as safe havens for illegal aliens). The paranoid Senators voted 61-38 to table the amendment (effectively killing it), with at least one of your Senators voting against the amendment. Unfortunately these are SANCTUARY STATES such as California that is now submerged under massive financial debt, a large portion caused by the millions of illegal families living of state welfare.

    This included Sen. DeMint amendment to construct the original–DOUBLE LAYER–fence, authored originally by Rep.Duncan Hunter, which like most approved laws are hastily thrashed in cloaked conferences pandering to corporate cartels and pro-illegal immigrant lobbyists. Thanks to the open border groups our border defenses comprises of a single layer barrier, with large areas of nothing to halt illegal criminals, drug peddlers, uninhibited terrorists and scores of illegal aliens with families from entering America. Sanctuary policies encourage illegal immigration by sending a signal across the world that anyone who manages to enter the United States will be able to stay here as long as they wish – regardless of their status – because our government lacks the will to enforce its own laws. These illegal policies have contributed to our current illegal immigration debacle and are an embarrassment to the country.

    Call and blast your Senators and Representative at 202-224-3121 in Washington. Overwhelming the switchboard with your calls, as it is having an outstanding effect of–MILLIONS of angry voters. INFORM THEM DO YOUR DUTY OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES ON RE-ELECTION DAY? Tell them you want a PERMANENT E-Verify for–EVERY WORKER, a secure double layer fence and–REAL–enforcement against sanctuary state policies. Read undisclosed facts at NUMBERSUSA. UNEARTH the corruption at JUDICIAL WATCH. Your voice is needed to halt OVERPOPULATION and American Worker survival. Demand NO-MORE-AMNESTIES. Go home and come through the front door, like millions of legal immigrants?

  6. There are mary reasons why I don’t like Dobbs or the clowns at FOX. They are like comedians trying to get ratings. They bring out only the negative things and try to get anger. Dobbs is a liar and I don’t respect him as a human.

  7. Legal immigration is good it can bring great things to a country. Illegal immigration is the problem. All of the Latinos that are demanding rights that they didn’t earn, where were they during the Civil Rights movement? They are not entitled to any social programs. If I immigrate to any other country in the world should I expect them to learn English or should I learn to speak their language? Illegal immigrates takes advantage of American laws and Latino Leaders encourages it. If a local Police Agency sees a Federal crime being committed I guess he or she should just turn their head and say that’s for the Federal Government to deal with. If it ever comes a time when Americans have to stand up to a hostile foreign power how many illegal immigrates are willing to make that stand? not If you come here as an Illegal you are on your own.