Friday, October 23, 2009

They're Criticizing Lou Dobbs

On Tuesday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was, understandably, a little proud of himself when he identified John Stossel as one of his "Best Persons In The World"

for his best responsible comment from a guy I bash now, John Stossel, now Fox News. He says he won‘t vote Republican if “conservative means stop all immigration and some other things that conservatives say. If it means the Lou Dobbs kind of rants about immigrants wrecking America, I don‘t subscribe to that. I think immigrants, by and large, do good things for America.”

I don‘t think Mr. Stossel cares what I think. But I think he deserves applause for that.

Olbermann ‘s applause was echoed by thinkprogress.org, the blog of the Center for American Progress , albeit primarily by way of an attack on Dobbs. Welcoming Stossel to GOP TV, Glenn Beck on his radio show on Wednesday discussed (audio below) immigration with him:

STOSSEL: But if it means the Lou Dobbs kind of rants about immigrants wrecking America, I don't subscribe to that. I think immigrants by and large do good things for America.

GLENN: I think immigrants I think we need more immigrants, ones that want to be Americans because those immigrants are the only ones that are reminding us that we better get off our ass, we've got liberty here and we forget about it all the time.

STOSSEL: That's very true. When they were passing all these antismoking rules and I wanted to make the argument that, gee, don't we have freedom of association? Can't the guy who smokes who owns a bar have smoking in his bar? Can't the smokers have some bars? And I went on the street and I asked smoker after smoker, what do you think? Oh, okay, I guess we're just going to have to stand outside. Nobody was outraged except the immigrants. And they would say, I thought America was the land of the free. So you make a good point there.


If we are to believe Stossel, immigrants are good for the U.S.A. because they’re the only people who support unrestricted smoking in public. It skillfully combines two bad arguments: uninhibited smoking, anywhere and everywhere, is really good policy; and immigrants are good because they understand this.

It’s unsurprising that the former ABC correspondent would advance this spurious argument for supporting immigration, apparently of both the legal and illegal variety. It would be a little more jarring to hear the conservative libertarian Stossel ‘fess up: “I support increased immigration because it expands the labor pool and exerts downward pressure on wages and benefits.”

Such candor would not be very sophisticated. But harboring little respect for the American worker fits neatly into the worldview of someone with little respect also for American schoolchildren. And it would hardly disturb corporate interests, which always have been paramount in Stossel’s thinking and commentary, disguised as reporting.

Dobbs has been wrong frequently the past year (especially on ACORN), owing partly to his avid distaste for Barack Obama. Still, on the matter of legal/illegal immigration, his signature issue, he has been largely correct, as when he told an interviewer at his network in 2007

we bring in more than two million immigrants into this country lawfully each and every year? Has anybody on this broadcast, any news organization in the country, said, wait a minute, why in the world are we worrying about illegal immigration into this country and their -- and their situation, before we're worrying about how long it takes to become a lawful immigrant in to this country and what we're doing with people who are playing by the rules? This is upside down. It's wrongheaded.

Often blasted as anti-immigrant and even racist, Dobbs here is urging greater attention to effecting the citizenship of legal immigrants, shortening the time between entrance to the country and full status as Americans. This remains one of the best ways to ensure full rights and privileges for all individuals here legally, advantaging both those who have decided to do it the right way and America.


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