TV pundit and talk show host Lou Dobbs is a master manipulator. He did an interview with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales of Democracy Now–an arena that he clearly considered hostile territory–and he used every sleazoid right-wing media manipulation technique I’ve ever seen: interrupting, name calling, avoiding the topic with a twisted answer changing the subject, denying he said something until it was proven on tape, claiming to hold a high standard only to be caught out on fact-checking issues, demanding to be allowed to finish the question but not granting his interlocuters the same courtesy…and plenty more. This interview demonstrates a lot of what’s wrong with “punditocracy.” Oh yes, and he cleverly started the interview by focusing on areas that his audience would actually agree with. But most of his hour focused on immigration, and especially on exposing his rather bizarre sources for his politics on that issue.
Fortunately, Goodman and Gonzales were up to the challenge and kept him honest–territory that seems, from listening to the interview, to be terra incognita: unknown.
I particularly liked Juan Gonzales’ response here:
LOU DOBBS: What in the world is your point?
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I’m getting to my point, but give me the time to do it. We have time on this show, unlike—we don’t do soundbites here, alright?
Go to the link and don’t just read the transcript. Listen or watch, and examine this interview through the lens of media manipulation by a right-wing punditocracy that doesn’t want to give air to opposing views, makes up facts when the real ones are inconvenient and resorts to personal attacks when nothing else seems to be working.
Lou Dobbs embodies much that is wrong with contemporary journalism–but Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales, and the entire Democracy Now staff (which does an amazing job digging up news that doesn’t make the mainstream media, five whole hours a week), embody much of what is right.