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In his early career Dobbs was known as a fiscal conservative. His views have become increasingly socially conservative with the passage of time. He is a critic of the "excesses of capitalism," which he identifies as globalization, offshore outsourcing, runaway film production (the outsourcing of Hollywood jobs), illegal immigration, free trade deals, corporate/big business influence in government and the Bush administration's tax cuts. He describes himself as an advocate of economic populism, warning that outsourcing and the U.S. trade and budget deficits threaten the American middle class. Dobbs tends to oppose long-run trade deficits and outsourcing for the sake of labor arbitrage to obtain cheap labor.
In the 2000s, Dobbs has used CNN programs and columns to express his personal views on several subjects. He has become particularly noted for two positions: Dobbs is a critic of American immigration policy and expanded international trade. He is particularly wary of outsourcing and off-shoring, especially with China. On November 15, 2006, Dobbs described himself as a populist.
 Illegal immigration and border security
Dobbs is strongly opposed to both illegal immigration as well as various labor outsourcing programs such as the H-1B visa program and guest worker programs. Along with this, he has been a critic of the Mexican government's poverty programs, and of church leaders in Mexico for not criticizing the Mexican government's policies on border security and illegal immigration.
Lou Dobbs Tonight frequently features related issues under the themes "Exporting America," "Broken Borders," and "War on the Middle Class". The newscast often describes illegal immigration as an "invasion." Dobbs dismissed concerns about his rhetoric as "political correctness" in the segment billboarded "P.C. Nation".
In his "Broken Borders" segments, Dobbs focused primarily on the southern border with Mexico and the drugs and the people that cross it. Dobbs has lauded the Canadian government for cooperation in securing the border with their American counterparts.
In an interview with Lesley Stahl, Dobbs spoke about his meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, saying they implied that he was anti-Hispanic by asking him, "if [he had] ever eaten a taco before, for God's sake". Representative Joe Baca, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, later wrote to CBS insisting that the group did not meet with Dobbs to discuss whether he'd eaten Hispanic food, "but to respectfully recommend that he cease the negative portrayal of Hispanics...and treat the issue of immigration in a responsible manner."
In 2007, Dobbs repeatedly and falsely claimed that Hispanics were responsible for bringing 7,000 new cases of leprosy to the United States in a three year period. The actual total number of all leprosy cases in the United States in that timeframe was on the order of 1/20th of that amount. The Federal Government's National Hansen’s Disease Program specifically refuted Dobbs' claims, but when asked about his statements Dobbs denied he'd made them and took offense at being questioned on the matter.
Dobbs has criticized local officials for their approach to border security. In October 2007 he labeled ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer an "idiot" for advocating the issuance of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Hillary Clinton labeled Dobbs' illegal immigration segments as having "all that hot air."
On October 5, 2009, a gunshot was fired in the vicinity of Dobbs and his wife as they stood outside their home. The bullet struck the vinyl siding of their attic and fell to the ground without penetrating the vinyl. On October 26, 2009, Dobbs on his radio program, told his listeners that the incident was attributed to his stance against amnesty for illegal immigrants.
 Other views
Dobbs once described himself as a "lifelong Republican," but has stated that he has switched to being an unaffiliated independent populist, as he no longer openly supports any party. Though he made a donation of $1,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign in January 2001, he often has described the Bush administration and the then Republican-controlled Congress as "disgraceful." He has also argued that both parties are controlled by corporate interests. Dobbs faulted Bush's 2004 presidential election opponent, Democrat John Kerry, for first criticizing outsourcing and then backing off.
Dobbs is pro-choice, opposes gun control and, though he is a fiscal conservative, supports some government regulations, as revealed in a 60 Minutes interview.
Dobbs' stance on trade has earned plaudits from some trade union activists on the traditional political left, while his stance on immigration tends to appeal to the right. In an interview with Larry King, Dobbs revealed that he is now "an unaffiliated independent" owing to dissatisfaction with both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Dobbs has been generally supportive of gay issues. In June 2006, as the U.S. Senate debated the Federal Marriage Amendment, Dobbs was critical of the action. He asserted that traditional marriage was threatened more by financial crises perpetuated by Bush administration economic policy than by gay marriage.
In July 2006, Dobbs criticized U.S. foreign policy as being disproportionately supportive of Israel, pointing out the U.S.' rapid recognition of Israel in 1948, foreign aid to Israel, and other policy choices in the past and present.
Dobbs is the author of War on the Middle Class, in which he claims that both Democrats and Republicans are harming the middle class. In it, he comes out strongly against the Bush tax cuts, which he argues favor the wealthy, and argues for raising the U.S. minimum wage from what was then $5.15 an hour.
Recently, Dobbs has been critical of the rescue package brought about by the Bush Administration and supported by the Democratic-controlled Congress, which he and others call as a "Wall Street Bailout." Dobbs describes this package as a way for U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to help corporate interests rather than average Americans.
Dobbs' critics, including columnist James K. Glassman, author of Dow 36,000 and member of the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, have accused him of inciting xenophobia. Others have accused him of Hispanophobia, a charge he denies and one which he has said offends him deeply, as his wife Debi Segura is a Mexican-American.
Dobbs has also been criticized for his journalistic ethics by progressive news journalist Amy Goodman. She exposed flagrant errors in his reporting and his staff's association with disreputable sources, complaining that "he has a special responsibility to rely on facts and to correct misstatements of fact." He entered the undocumented immigration debate "invoking populist rhetoric and championing the cause of the middle class", a stance opposed by her Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez.
A CNN report, filed by Christine Romans for Dobbs's April 14, 2005 program, reported on the carrying of diseases across the border by illegal immigrants. Romans' report cited an article in the spring 2005 issue of the non-indexed Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, written by Madeleine Cosman, which made the statement that 7,000 cases of leprosy had emerged in the United States within the previous three years (2002-2005), an increase attributed mostly to an influx of immigrants into the country. Critics of the program argued that, in fact, the actual number of leprosy cases had reached 7,000 in the registry over 30 years, not the previous three years, with 137 cases reported in 2006. In addressing the leprosy issue, Dobbs in May 2007 compared his critics from the left and right political spectrums to "commies" and "fascists." On December 4, 2007, Dobbs rejected Cosman's claims as unsubstantiated, calling her "a wackjob".
On the May 23, 2006 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs's program displayed a map of Aztlán sourced to the controversial Council of Conservative Citizens. CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson apologized for the graphic's use, saying: "A freelance field producer in Los Angeles searched the web for Aztlan maps and grabbed the Council of Conservative Citizens map without knowing the nature of the organization. The graphic was a late inclusion in the script and, regrettably, was missed in the vetting process."
In mid-2009, Dobbs was criticized for giving air time to Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories that claim Barack Obama was not born in the United States. His willingness to repeatedly raise the "birther" issue even though CNN itself considered it a "discredited rumor", led the Washington Post's TV critic to remark that this "explains their upcoming documentary: 'The World: Flat. We Report -- You Decide.'" The issue had come up in 2008 during the Presidential campaign, and had largely disappeared from the media spotlight until Dobbs picked up the issue again. His statements in support of these investigations were dubbed "racist" and "defamatory" by the Southern Poverty Law Center The controversy led to Media Matters airing ads critical of Dobbs and of CNN, and to Jon Stewart mocking Dobbs on the satirical The Daily Show. The New York Times said that Dobbs had "become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network's 'no bias' brand."
Shortly afterwards, Dobbs announced that he would broadcast two episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight from the "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" conference in Washington, D.C., organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-immigration advocacy group. Media Matters also criticized this move, citing FAIR founder John Tanton's history of making racially derogatory remarks and supporting white supremacist organizations. Media Matters president Eric Burns issued an open letter to CNN vice president Jonathan Klein, asking that the network take action against Dobbs. "Mr. Dobbs represents an ongoing threat to CNN's credibility as a serious news organization, in no small part because of his polemical coverage of immigration issues and his continued use of his CNN show to lend prominence to groups such as FAIR", wrote Burns. "The attention and legitimacy he gave to the 'birther' movement -- and CNN's condoning of his actions -- did real damage to that credibility. His participation in the upcoming FAIR rally would do further, serious damage. We urge you to finally acknowledge that Mr. Dobbs' actions in this and other contexts are inconsistent with the reputation that CNN strives to maintain."
Dobbs has won numerous major awards for his television journalism, most notably a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award and a Cable Ace Award. He received the George Foster Peabody Award for his coverage of the 1987 stock market crash. He also has received the Luminary Award of the Business Journalism Review in 1990, the Horatio Alger Association Award for Distinguished Americans in 1999 and the National Space Club Media Award in 2000. The Wall Street Journal has named Dobbs "TV's Premier Business News Anchorman". In 2004, Dobbs was awarded the Eugene Katz Award For Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration by the Center for Immigration Studies and in 2005 he received the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution's Statesmanship Award. Dobbs was named "Father of the Year" by the National Father's Day Committee in 1993.
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