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Business & Media Institute


Press Release
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
| CONTACT: Tim Scheiderer (703) 683-5004

James Glassman: “‘Lou Dobbs Tonight’ is a seamless rant against big business and free trade.”

Alexandria, VA—The Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute (BMI) has released Trade Secrets, a study revealing the overtly biased nature of CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” Covering March 1 to June 30, 2005, the study highlights what many Dobbs critics have seen as an ongoing and blatant attack on the free enterprise system.

“Lou Dobbs has become a table-thumping protectionist. While trade can cause pain to some workers, lack of trade causes far more. Imagine if software firms did not search the world for the best labor at the best price. Consumers would pay more, and shareholders would have less to reinvest, which would mean fewer jobs for Americans. Dobbs and xenophobic politicians are out to kill the goose that lays our golden eggs,” said James Glassman, a resident fellow in economic issues at the American Enterprise Institute.

Key Findings from Trade Secrets

  • The Outsourcing Source: Lou Dobbs continues to be one of the leading voices against outsourcing American jobs. He’s even written a book about companies that are “Exporting America,” but he only told half the story. He left out the 5.4 million insourced jobs that pay, on average, more than the typical American job. Of the 69 stories studied, 43 percent (30 stories) focused on the “perils” of outsourcing. Of those 30 stories, only one mentioned insourced jobs – and that twisted the facts to criticize U.S. trade policy.


  • Trade Pact Passed Congress, But Not Dobbs: The recently-passed Central American Free Trade Agreement never received even neutral consideration on Lou Dobbs Tonight. Seventeen separate free-trade stories were devoted to hammering CAFTA relentlessly. None of them took a positive or even neutral view of the treaty.
  • ‘So-Called’ News: Dobbs openly flaunted his feelings, using the phrase “so-called free trade” at least 34 times. In a recent broadcast, Dobbs corrected himself when he mentioned “free trade” without labeling it “so-called.” The man his network says “helped CNN become the leader in television business journalism” does one-sided news on a regular basis.
  • United He Stands: Instead of a business show, Lou Dobbs Tonight often sounded like a meeting at a union hall. Stories bashed business executives and relied on the unions’ protectionist view of trade. Of 51 trade-related stories, 43 percent (22 stories) solicited input from one of 11 different union groups. In 2004, Dobbs received The Man of the Year Award from a “worker advocacy group demanding that U.S. jobs be preserved first and foremost for American citizens.”
  • Breaking China: The July 22, 2005 Wall Street Journal noted that “China-bashing has become a favorite sport in Washington…” The same can be said for Lou Dobbs Tonight. The program devoted 33 stories to China during the four-month time period. Of those, 89 percent (29 stories) criticized American trade with China, a top trading partner, and hammered China for everything from destroying the American textile industry to currency manipulation. None of the stories gave the other side of the China question.
  • Unbalanced Trade Account: Dobbs blamed the trade deficit for “literally choking economic growth” but the numbers don’t bear that out. According to the Cato Institute, GDP actually grows more quickly when the trade deficit is “worsening.” That’s because imports raise the standard of living for American workers and provide cheap products for industry and consumers. This foreign capital feeds our growing economy.

To schedule an interview with James Glassman or another BMI spokesperson, please contact Tim Scheiderer at 703.683.5004 x. 126.