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Lou Dobbs takes flak from many directions. He fires back too.

Lou Dobbs is a controversial CNN broadcaster obsessed with the dangers of immigration. Now someone may have taken a potshot at his house. He blames his critics.

By Staff writer / October 31, 2009

Lou Dobbs.

CNN/AP

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CNN’s Lou Dobbs is a man with a mission: Keep hammering on immigration in the United States.

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He’s been at it for years, warning that immigrants (illegal and sometimes legal) are a threat to the country’s economic and social well-being, maybe even its domestic tranquility and security.

Whether or not he believes everything he says -- and apparently he does -- it’s a very effective broadcast shtick, a hot-button political issue and one that’s easily played (and manipulated), especially when the economy has been faltering and terrorist attacks from abroad remain a threat.

And especially at a time when polls show hardening public attitudes toward immigrants.

For CNN -- which projects an image of relative moderation (at least compared to its cable rivals MSNBC on the left and Fox News on the right) -- Dobbs comes across as fire-breathing.

"If anybody thinks we're not engaged in a battle for the soul of this country right now, you're sorely mistaken,” Mr. Independent (as he calls himself) declares on his Web site.

Naturally (and no doubt intentionally) he’s raised the ire of critics, who paint him as a nativist if not a racist.

Hispanic and immigrant-rights groups have been on his case.

"We believe it is our duty to raise our voices against this slanderous campaign that goes on every night," Oscar Chacon, executive director of the Chicago-based National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, said recently.

The National Council of La Raza and the Southern Poverty Law Center have started a project called “Drop Dobbs” to put the heat on CNN advertisers.

Geraldo Rivera (no stranger to controversy himself) says of Dobbs: “He discovered that one of the ways to get people to watch was to make of the image of a young Latino trying to get into this country a profoundly negative icon. Lou Dobbs is almost single-handedly responsible for creating, for being the architect of the young-Latino-as-scapegoat for everything that ails this country.”