Fall is here, and irony hangs heavy in the air.
During his final years at CNN, anchor Lou Dobbs boosted his career by hammering away at illegal immigration. At one point he suggested that, “the employer who is so shamelessly exploiting the illegal alien and so shamelessly flouting U.S. law” should face criminal charges.
Recently, the liberal magazine The Nation reported that Dobbs employed at least five undocumented aliens on his estate and to care for his horses. “I have never hired an illegal immigrant, never will,” Dobbs insists. “None of my companies have hired illegal immigrants, and we work very hard to make certain we do not do so.”
But Dobbs did hire a contractor, and that company seems to have hired the illegals. One way or the other, the story doesn’t look good for him.
Still, he’s enjoying an easy ride compared to another (now) former CNN anchor.
Rick Sanchez, the host of an afternoon talk show that tried to weave together real-time comments from viewers through Facebook and Twitter, was not on the air on Oct.1. He had been fired almost as soon as he finished a radio interview on a SiriusXM station. During one exchange on that show, he hinted that Jews control the media.
“I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like [Comedy Central’s Jon] Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they -- the people in this country who are Jewish -- are an oppressed minority? yeah,” Sanchez said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Sanchez has since apologized.
There are twin ironies here. First, Sanchez does have a point. The people who run newsgathering operations aren’t united by race or religion. But they are, for the most part, united by ideology. Most people, in most newsrooms, share a conventionally liberal worldview.
For example, if you asked the writers, producers and anchors of a typical news program a simple question: “What does a better job allocating resources -- a free market, or the government?” they’d probably all agree that the answer is “the government.” Most Americans, meanwhile, would recognize the free market as the correct answer.
This raises the second irony. Sanchez is busy promoting his book, called “Conventional Idiocy.” It’s supposedly an attack on the emptiness of traditional newscasts. Yet he seems just as conventional as anyone in the news business.
“I’m just going to be honest with you and go ahead and say it: If you look at the landscape now in our media, in prime time, there’s not a single Hispanic. There’s not a single African American,” he said on ABC one week after he was fired. Fine, but tallying up the ethnicity of anchors doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.
As Sanchez himself said in the controversial radio interview, “I’ve known a lot of elite Northeast establishment liberals.” Not only does he know them, he seems to think just as conventionally as they do.
A final irony was centered in Washington, where international finance ministers gathered for the annual meeting of the International Monetary fund. These meetings turned out to be rather calm compared to past gatherings, when protesters smashed storefronts as a protest against “globalization,” a word that few protesters bother to define, except to say they’re against it.
Even the companies that use all the correct buzzwords end up being targeted. For example, fashion giant Benetton insists on its web site that it has a “commitment to ethical values, with a multi-ethnic approach, respect for the environment and support of human rights.”
That statement certainly nails all the correct leftie buzzwords. Yet three years ago, a protester threw a brick into the store company’s outlet in Georgetown. Go figure.
Truth, we’re told, is the best defense against libel. These days, though, there seems to be no defense against irony.