(WASHINGTON) -- Lou Dobbs gained notoriety for his harsh criticism of immigrants and the people who hire them. Now in the wake of a report from The Nation that says that Dobbs has relied on undocumented workers for years, he's fighting to save his reputation.
Today on his nationally syndicated radio show, he called The Nation's investigation, titled "Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite," "an attack piece" filled with "outrageous claims." He went head to head with reporter Isabel Macdonald about her assertion that he hired illegal immigrants to maintain his family's homes and horses.
Their conversation quickly turned into a confrontation:
Dobbs: "Did you say that I hired or my firm hired illegal immigrants?"
Macdonald: "I am saying that for years, undocumented immigrants looked after your show jumping horses, and for years, they looked after the grounds at your West Palm Beach estate in Florida. This article is fact-checked 100 percent, it is legally vetted."
Dobbs hammered Macdonald with questions but seemed loathe to offer any explanations himself. He suggested that if the workers he hired were illegal immigrants, he didn't know that.
"I had been told that they were absolutely legal," he said. "And you were told the same thing … and you didn't mention that in your piece."
The back-and-forth ended abruptly. As Dobbs tried to dismiss Macdonald from the program, she said, "Your listeners deserve better. I'm saying your listeners deserve to know the truth."
His response: "Are you saying they deserve better than going to TheNation.com? Because that's the last thing I think they should do. ... Let's try focusing on truth and reality and straightforwardness, OK?"
For her Nation piece, Macdonald interviewed at least five undocumented immigrants who were hired by Dobbs. Some were brought on to help take care of the horse Dobbs' 22-year-old daughter Hillary used in her professional career as a show jumper.
One man named Rodrigo Ortega told Macdonald about meeting Dobbs, who introduced himself in Spanish as "Luis." Ortega said that Dobbs "knew very well that the majority of us didn't have papers," but that "was never a problem."
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