Well, at least Howard Kurtz -- unlike Bill O'Reilly -- didn't completely sucker for Lou Dobbs' wildly overblown tale of someone taking a shot at his home.
In fact, on yesterday's "Reliable Sources" show on CNN, Kurtz hosted a pretty frank discussion of the likelihood that Dobbs was trying to martyr himself and attack his critics by claiming they were shooting at him -- when there's extremely high likelihood that this was a stray bullet from a rifle shot by a hunter in the nearby woods.
Most of the frank talk can be credited to Margaret Carlson, who was in Feisty mode. Unfortunately, she was counterbalanced by Lyin' John Fund, who managed to completely obfuscate why Dobbs is in trouble for the way he discussed immigration:
KURTZ: Margaret, if some nut was actually taking a shot at Lou Dobbs and his wife, is it fair for him to then blame it on the media climate surrounding his fervent opposition to illegal immigration?
CARLSON: No, but he loves doing it. Speak of your own publicity machine, Lou Dobbs generates so much about his own self. And he takes extreme views in part for ratings.
KURTZ: But that suggests he doesn't believe what he's saying.
CARLSON: You know, I think like Glenn Beck and some of these others, you come to believe when you're saying because it is so satisfying to you in terms of ratings and income. Listen, the police who investigated this said that it's hunting season, and there was a bullet mark in the attic on the third floor of his house. That he and his wife were in the same place at the same time, there's no evidence of that.
I mean, it sounds to me from the evidence that he was blowing this up into -- to be a victim -- to be a victim of the media when there's absolutely no, just no evidence that somebody was shooting at him or his wife.
KURTZ: John Fund, we don't know exactly what happened, but it is true that New Jersey state police did kind of play down this incident.
Did Dobbs go too far in trying to tie this to his stance on immigration?
FUND: I think, look, my brother was in law enforcement, and it's always a close call, because if you talk about people threatening you or possibly taking a shot at you, that can encourage other people to go after you. So I probably would have stayed away from it simply for reasons of security. But this issue of what his views are...
KURTZ: Just briefly.
FUND: ... "The Wall Street Journal" is very pro-legal immigration. But Lou Dobbs' views are not that extreme. He basically says we should enforce the laws we have on the books involving illegal immigration. Characterizing it as extreme, I think mischaracterizes his position.
KURTZ: That is a debate for another day. We'll have you back.
Actually, Dobbs' "position" on immigration sounds reasonable when he starts talking about how he thinks we ought to increase immigration levels. But that was after he started getting called out for his incessant extremism. Before that, it's true he didn't explicitly call for mass deportations -- rather, he frequently argued for an aggressive policy of rounding up illegal immigrants and making their lives so miserable they left on their own. Basically an attrition-by-oppression plan. (And he has in fact expressed his avid support for deportation.)
But the reason Dobbs is viewed as an extremist on immigration has much less to do with his stated "position" on immigration, and everythign to do with his "reportage" on immigration and its outrageous and racially incendiary content -- the effects of which are felt in such real-world phenomena as an outbreak of anti-Latino hate crimes:
As for the claim that the Latino-bashing is something else -- the neutral and completely benign criticism of illegal immigration generally -- we've known this is nonsense for some time, especially Lou Dobbs' case. If Dobbs and cohorts like FAIR (an SPLC-designated hate group) really were only concerned about only illegal immigration, then Dobbs needs to explain:
* Why he makes up phony statistics connecting immigration generically with a supposed increase in diseases like leprosy.
* Why he broadcasts white-supremacist mythology about a Hispanic “Aztlan” conspiracy to return the Southwest to Mexico.
* Why he continually claims that Latino immigration is responsible for an increase in crime.
* Why he once said that this wave of immigration is turning America into “a third world cesspool” (a remark that has since been removed from the CNN website).
* Why he constantly promotes the notion of making English the official U.S. language.
* Why he regularly refers to this wave of immigration as an “invasion.”
* Why he regularly hosts anti-immigrant voices from white-supremacist groups and vigilante scam artists like the Minutemen and yet neglects to explain his guests' troubling backgrounds.
That, and much more, constitute the reasons Dobbs is viewed as an extremist on immigration.
John Fund can sugarcoat it and hope everyone forgets about Dobbs' real record of race-baiting on immigration. It's a common right-wing tactic to whine that all they want to talk about is immigration and yet doing so brings reflexive accusations of racism, and that's so unfair. But the fact is, we'd all love to talk about immigration with dealing with racism -- but right-wingers like Lou Dobbs do their best to make sure we have to.