Tuesday, June 22, 2004

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Lou Dobbs is a big fat hypocrite

If I wasn't busy trying to get tenure and all that, I'd be sorely tempted to write a quickie paperback with that title. Never mind Dobbs' tendentious reporting about outsourcing -- now he's got bigger ethical quandries.

Back in March, James Glassman pointed out in Tech Central Station that Dobbs was praising companies like Boeing and Washington Mutual as worthy stocks in his eponymous investment letter -- even though he was bashing these very same companies for offshore outsourcing on his CNN show, Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Last week, Zachary Roth at CJR's Campaign Desk followed up on this tendency of Dobbs to say one thing to his viewers and another thing to readers of his investment letter:

Unlike most investment advisors, Dobbs goes beyond talking up the earning potential of these companies. He typically goes out of his way to praise them as good corporate citizens. The newsletter keeps a running tally of the companies profiled, under the heading, "The following companies have been featured in the Lou Dobbs Money Letter as those 'doing good business with good people.'" The appeal is alluring: You're not just buying a smart investment choice, you're buying a piece of good citizenship.

Dobbs devoted a column in the March issue to touting the prospects of the Minnesota-based Toro Company, which makes outdoor landscaping-maintenance equipment. He told subscribers that Toro was a "long-term wealth-builder," and praised Toro's "formal code of ethics, something I think is sorely needed at more of America's companies," and its "...exemplary corporate governance structure, which aligns the interests of shareholders, employees, and customers." He concluded his interview with Toro CEO Kendrick Melrose by frankly telling him, "I like the way you treat your shareholders, employees, and customers."

One wonders whether Dobbs' admiration extends to Toro's 2002 decision to move 15% of its workforce -- about 800 jobs -- to Juarez, Mexico. Indeed, CEO Kendrick Melrose might be interested to know that Toro appears on Dobbs' own list of companies that are "exporting America."

And Toro is not alone. Of the 14 companies Dobbs has highlighted for investors since starting his newsletter last year, eight appear on his CNN website as companies that outsource jobs (emphasis added).

Read both Glassman and Roth. We here at danieldrezner.com are appalled -- there are actually people out there who would pay $398 a year for Lou Dobbs' investment advice?! To be fair, however, Glassman does point out in another column that on his TV show, Dobbs is the perfect anti-predictor when it comes to investment decisions.

Amazingly, Dobbs is proving to be somewhat two-faced in his response to the Campaign Desk post. In a follow-up post, Roth writes, "When we contacted him, Dobbs was unrepentant, saying that he didn't see a problem with using one hand to reprimand companies for outsourcing, while using the other to promote the same firms." However, when the Wall Street Journal came a callin', Dobbs changed his tune:

In an interview, Mr. Dobbs said he would change his newsletter in response to critics' concerns. In the future, Mr. Dobbs said, every examination of a company and every interview in the newsletter will include mention of that business's offshoring record. "It makes absolute sense," Mr. Dobbs said. "If this is a concern -- and it certainly is a concern of people -- I will respect that. It's something I will begin implementing in the newsletter."

Lou, Lou, Lou -- it's never the original scandal that brings you down -- it's the cover-up to the scandal.

I'll give Roth the final word of this post:

It's nice that Dobbs will now inform the thousands of subscribers to his newsletter about the offshoring records of his featured companies. It would be even nicer if he informed the much larger number of people who watch his anti-outsourcing crusade on CNN that he promotes some of the companies on his "exporting America" list.

posted by Dan on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM


Maybe Dan can follow-up by seeing if Dobbs has praised any companies for planning to take advantage of pending trade liberalization treaties with countries like Costa Rica, Honduras and Bahrain. About three weeks ago his show's segment on these treaties ran above a banner reading "Free Trade Giveaways." Though the report contained not one word about any specific provision of any of the treaties Dobbs closed the segment by complaining that foreign countries should be made to pay a price for access to the richest market in the world.

posted by: Zathras on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

I really don't know what happened to Lou. As recently as a year or so ago, he was a pretty mainstream Republican. Now he seems to have become a mix between a Buchananite and a Naderite -- anti-immigration, anti-free trade, anti- big corporations, anti-offshoring etc etc.

The worst aspects of left and right. And it might be for ratings, but is his show really doing well ?

posted by: Jon Juzlak on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

So now we know that for Dan a while is nine days (fair enough - just pointing it out).

Unless this is not really a post about outsourcing, but about hypocrisy. Others have written more interesting and more relevant articles about hypocrisy (ok, so it's just one article). And much better examples of blatant hypocrisy that could be analyzed certainly exist.

Or is this all just about putting down a reformed Republican?

posted by: gw on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Well Dobbs never was a very good standard bearer for the outsourcing movement. In addition I have the feeling that he doesn't write most of his own stuff, if he ever did. He's Lou Dobb's Inc. now. It's entirely possible that he picked up the research that his staff sent him for the investment newsletter, put out his little blub on it, and then had his other staff do the outsourcing story and it never occurred to him to check if there was any overlap.

Hence his rather stultifying and stuttering statements once it was exposed. I feel the same thing happened to GWB. One day Gonzales was spewing some lawyer crap at him that the Geneva Conventions didn't apply, and the next thing he knows Rumsfeld has turned Abu Gharaib into a XXX porn media production center and is disappearing people. This is the danger of being at the mercy of your staff and over delegating.

They do stuff in your name you would never condone if it was put down in black and white in front of you. Now Dobb's looks like a hypocrite, and GWB looks like the spiritual cousin of Jack Ryan, Republican Senatorial candidate whose ex-wife Jeri Ryan based him for needing to have public sex in sex and S&M clubs to get himself thrilled. Married to Jeri Ryan, "Resistance is Futile" Voyager sexpot and not able to get thrilled?

Anyway you see the problem. Johnson as a President was attacked for being a micromanager, but Nixon delegated and look where it got him. Reagan delegated and look where it got him. GWB delegated and look where it got him. Delegation has got to be the single most over-rated Presidential management strategy, ever. It's not that you have to do everything yourself, but you have to review all decisions and have a direct feed into all information coming from the field. If you let your staff filter your information you get idiocies like this.

posted by: oldman on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

The backstory here is the most interesting part. Why is a once-august publication like the WSJ stooping to smears and gotcha journalism?

Check out "Post-Americans: They’ve just “grown” beyond their country" for some of the answers.

In addition to its Dobbs-bashing, the WSJ supports a politicians who's sleazy enough to sit by while an aide thinks up ways for illegal aliens to donate to his campaign. Details in that link.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

"If I wasn't busy trying to get tenure"

This is the subjunctive case. Therefore it should read:

"If I weren't busy trying to get tenure"

Subjunctive mood (Gram.), that form of a verb which express the action or state not as a fact, but only as a conception of the mind still contingent and dependent. It is commonly subjoined, or added as subordinate, to some other verb, and in English is often connected with it by if, that, though, lest, unless, except, until, etc., as in the following sentence: ``If there were no honey, they [bees] would have no object in visiting the flower.'' --Lubbock.

posted by: JasonK on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

I agree that Dobbs has become boring and tedious, just a Johnny-one-note, always spouting off the same diatribe.

posted by: Another Thought on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Maybe we can outsource Dobbs...it would be an act of mercy for the American audience! Of course, pity the poor country that ended up with this tedious pundit...

posted by: Another Thought on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Interesting topic.

I am presently in a medium term temporary housing arrangement.

The satellite cable package with which I am provided includes 3 CNN channels, but not Fox News.

I have learned that I can only tolerate CNN for short intervals.

I can't stomach Lou Dobbs at all, literally.

posted by: John on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

I don't really see the outrage here. Spouting off one's opinions about outsourcing, and recommending investments are different animals.

As someone else pointed out, Lou has people working for him who do that gruntwork research.

Jim Cramer is a way bigger hypocrite, and I don't care, I enjoy his show anyway. It's too bad CNBC moved him to a less desirable time slot.

posted by: Michael at the Calico Cat on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Lou Dobbs is on the cutting edge of a newly invigorated movement to take back America from international globalists like the WSJ, whose only allegiance is to money, not our nation and its people. Criticize all you want -- Lou will be proved right in the end. It's interesting to think about why his little show so terrifies the "free market" crowd. Perhaps his analysis hits too close to home...

posted by: VDARE FAN on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Noted micromanaging Presidents: Johnson and Carter. Where, exactly, did it get them?

And, Oldman, CNN is backing off its story (and maybe its source) that Rumsfeld okayed waterboarding and other stuff now that the memos are public.

So. Point?

posted by: JorgXMcKie on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

The point, Jorg, is that this morning when I was on the treadmill, I stubbed my toe and it really hurt, which got me to thinking about how hypocritical the Bush administration is and how they are making a mockery out of stuff.

Wait, what was the original post about again?

posted by: Steve in Houston on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Something did happen to Dobbs about a year ago. It's probably called ratings. He's up against Fox and probably felt the heat to put more of an edge on his program--call it anti-big business, or whatever. He went from being mildly interesting to being another left-leaning tool on CNN.

He also probably caved in to the onslaught of Liberal emails and call ins. Atrios used to have a "torture Lou" section where he'd steer email traffic to Dobbs. Maybe he got a few more viewers, but they're all most likely Bush- and business-hating tools. On CNN? Go figure.

posted by: paul on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

I agree with Paul, Lou used to be the
one show I would watch on CNN and felt
very dismayed as I saw his show get down to the level of the other shows.
Not worth watching.

posted by: Carole on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

I’m so glad that Dan Drezner is going after Lou Dobbs. However, when will he also display some outrage over his fellow academics who remain quiet concerning John Kerry’s foolishness? There is one very important reason why the American public remains confused on this issue: Democrat academics will do nothing which might ultimately hurt their party’s election chances. They will privately tell Dan their true thoughts---but that’s as far as it will go.

posted by: David Thomson on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

If you want twisted logic Mr. Drezner, look no further than yourself.

You cannot seem to make the distictinon between Mr. Dobbs professional obligation to give sound investment advice, vs his moral and intellectual position on outsourcing.

In failing to do so, you expose yourself as little more than another mouthpiece for cheap labor capitalists everywhere.

Like that's not terribly obvious in the first instance.

I'm sure you have moral and theoretical objections to all sorts of things, yet make a penny or two on those very same things.

It's no different in Lou Dobbs case, therefore, I suppose that if Dobbs is a hypocrite, you are as well.

posted by: Steve Ramsey on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Has Prof. Drezner ever said anything unflattering about a prominent Democrat?
Please tell me if he has.

posted by: David Davenport on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Dear Jorg,

I think what you're seeing with Rumsfeld is that the Pentagon turned up the heat on the source, who then phoned CNN saying he was no longer willing to stand by the story, and since they didn't have corroborating evidence that they had to back off.

A similar kind of pressure was brought on the 911 commission when they did a weird public flop and some of them began eagerly saying that there might be something to the Veep's statment after all.

Put the right kind of pressure on people, and they'll roll - that's the story.

The fact is that the Taguba report, the info on Sanchez, Rummy's admission that he's disappeared people, and other evidence including findings of homocide on detainees is more than sufficient to establish command complicity in breaking both US laws and internal conventions such as the Geneva accords.

This is like the WMD story. For the longest time, even after Kay came out saying "We were all wrong," people still stuck up for it. Maybe we'll have a few suckers pop up for it now.

The answer then as it is now is that they were stupid enough to get caught, they had everything going for them and they blew it, and that's a more damning indictment than any particular individual piece of evidence. The smoking gun is the freaking mess they made of the whole situ, and competence matters a hell of a lot more in the end than culpability. I'd rather hear that they tortured a bunch of people and got one terrorist than hear they kinda-sorta-did-but-didn't torture anyone and got no one.

If they could get results, this would be all water underneath the bridge. As it is, they're beneath contempt.

posted by: oldman on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Reagan delegated and look where it got him.

Lets see win the cold war, reduce taxes, re invigorate the economy, restore America's faith in itself etc.

Yes, he did suffer one major scandal, Iran- Contra (which did result in the ending of a communist government in SA).

Wouldn't you agree that 15 years later, Iran-Contra pales in insignificance to what Reagan achieved?

posted by: tallan on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

It's a good thing you're going for tenure. I hope you get it. Not being able to understand that in the business world, having a difference of opinion in values of a company does not preclude one from buying that company's stock, or recommending it to people who PAY YOU TO RECOMMEND PROFITABLE COMPPANIES, means that you bring virtually nothing to the table outside of academia, where results are meaningless.

posted by: paul a'barge on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

VDARE FAN posts a rant this is so very
typical of the forgetful Left ...

"Lou Dobbs is on the cutting edge of
a newly invigorated movement to take
back America from international
globalists ..."

I'd suggest picking up a American
history book and reading about a
group generously referred to as
"the Know-Nothings".

This isn't new - or cutting edge - at
all. It is simply the 'nativist'
doctrine cloaked in 21st jargon.

The only thing "new" about it is that
it is coming from the totalitarian
left this time around.

posted by: pragmatist on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

I can't think of a "issue" campaign like this. It was alright when it lasted a week. This has been going on for months (year?) now with no end in sight. CNN commercials touting Lou Dobbs and exporting America are be driven into our skulls with jackhammer efficiency. Enough is enough.

Outsourcing, both direct and indirect is a real problem for this country. Our quest for cheap labor started a long time ago. I wonder where old Lou was when our auto jobs headed south of the border? It is unfortunate that CNN has chosen to turn this issue into a massive infomercial. I believe it works against those of us who feel that a strong America needs a strong manufacturing base as well as a strong technology sector. Unfortunately, WalMart greeter will probably be a excellent career path in 20 years.

posted by: Ralph on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Dobbs is simply unwatchable. In the very limited (admitedly) exposure to his show that I've had of late, via channel surfing, his focus in inevitably on some aspect of economic nationalism, or just plain old xenophobibia ("Broken Borders", "The Outsourcing of America"). He goes way beyond Kerryesque economic nationalism right into the realm of Pat Buchanan. I could deal with the occassinal quirky view or eccentricity here and there, but the entire show seems to be one long soapbox devoted to Dobbs's crackpot obsessions. Why does CNN put up with him? Why can't somebody organize a boycott?

posted by: P.B. Almeida on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

"Xenophobia" "nativist" Did you ever notice that Dobbs bashers don't really have an argument that doesn't involve some form of name-calling and smears?

Anyone have any comments on why DD, the WSJ, and even members of Congress have to stoop to this level?

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Dobbs is boring.
Oldman is a fool.
Seacrest, out!

posted by: Seacrest on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

"Xenophobia" "nativist" Did you ever notice that Dobbs bashers don't really have an argument that doesn't involve some form of name-calling and smears?

Lonewacko: because such terms accurately describe the tone and point of view of Dobbs's show.

posted by: P.B. Almeida on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

"It's interesting to think about why his little show so terrifies the "free market" crowd. Perhaps his analysis hits too close to home..."

Yes, the free market crowd is terrified. We are terrified because of the influence our media seems to have on a population that thinks Anna Nichole Smith is entertaining. Thus we are terrifed that Dobbs' incessant rants will eventually have enough influence on our government and on the American people, that we will eventually find our US labor becoming that very same cheap labor we seem to hate so.

posted by: Timberwolf on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

How to explain Lou Dobb's recent behavior? He must have been abducted by aliens! At least that's what the tabloids would say.

posted by: Mace on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Lonewacko: because such terms accurately describe the tone and point of view of Dobbs's show.

That's strange. Here I thought Dobbs presents news items about the severe problems caused by massive illegal immigration.

Here's a tip: if Dobbs says something you disagree with, don't call him a nativist.

Sit down and write the reasons why you think he's wrong. Then, we'll decide who's right.

For instance, the latest Scripps Howard Texas Poll shows that Eighty-six percent (86%) of those surveyed... said illegal immigration is a very serious or somewhat serious problem. So, write us all a little note telling us why they're wrong.

Those of you seeking more information on this are invited to check out my Immigration archives.

posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

Given that Glassman and Tech Central Station are a bought for and fully owned lobbying operation, I say follow the money in this case to see who wants to stick the knife into Dobbs. Then ask why

posted by: Eli Rabett on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

One cannot help but wonder if Dobbs' outsourcing rants are a deliberate attempt to influence the stock price of the very same stocks he touts. If he rants long enough, perhaps the prices might fall - which then allows the subscribers of his newsletter to buy the shares that much cheaper.

At the very best, his dual roles give smack of improriety. At the worst, one might be able to claim willful stock price manipulation.

His bosses should make him make the choice of either his investment newsletters or reporting on the very same stocks he touts.

And people wonder why the press is distrusted.

posted by: jon on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

People who advocate offshoring US jobs to the Turd World are economic terrorists. I put them in the same league as the other throat-cutting, sub-human scum that beheads innocent civilians in Iraq!

posted by: Crash on 06.22.04 at 11:06 AM [permalink]

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