At a fundraiser in Florida Thursday night, Barack Obama accused anti-immigrant crusaders Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh of "ginning things up" to such an extent that there was a rise in hate crimes against Hispanics last year.
"A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There’s a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year," Obama said. "If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it’s not surprising that would happen."
Politico’s Jonathan Martin writes that Limbaugh addressed Obama’s remarks on his radio show today and said that the remarks hurt his feelings.
"I actually don’t believe this. Barack Obama, in my own state, raising money for his presidential campaign called me xenophobic at a fundraiser," Limbaugh said. "I thought this guy was the unity candidate? Calling me a Xenophobe? Responsible for hate crimes? My feelings are hurt here."
I’m sure we’re all just very worried about poor Rush’s hurt feelings here, since he’s such a sensitive fellow himself who would never dream of hurting anyone else’s feelings, let alone demonizing them so deeply and consistently that right-wing nutjobs in his audience set off bombs at federal buildings or commit hate crimes.
Now I wonder if Lou Dobbs will invite Obama onto his show to attempt to "refute" this charge. Or will he just bare his teeth again?
UPDATE: The normally clueless Joe Klein chimes in:
I’ve got to wonder why the network allows Lou Dobbs to continue spewing false, inflammatory nonsense under the guise of objective journalism.
Here is his latest confrontation with Paul Waldman of Media Matters about the fictional NAFTA superhighway. Indeed, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave the NAFTA Superhighway myth four Pinocchios.
Now, I know that Dobbs brings in some serious ratings. And he is certainly entitled to his own opinion. But he is not entitled to his own facts–especially not on a network that makes a real effort to separate truth from falsehood and represent all sides of the political debate. Shouldn’t someone be editing this swill? Doesn’t CNN have a responsibility to tell its viewers that, in this case, one of their presenters is engaged in flat-out anti-immigrant fearmongering? Perhaps the network could employ a simple superimposed title–THIS IS NOT TRUE…or LOU HAS JUMPED THE SHARK ON THIS ONE–whenever Dobbs pretends that there is such a thing as the NAFTA Superhighway. This sort of thing diminishes the credibility and hard work of the other journalists on the network. (And no, I do not count the execrable Glenn Beck as a journalist.)
It’s good to see that other journalists are finally recognizing that Dobbs’ lack of accountability is a problem for all of us.