This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," May 6, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Take a look at this billboard. This is all the rage and controversy in California. It's in about four counties on 75 billboards and causing whole a lot of controversy.
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PROTESTERS: Tear down the sign. Mr. Liberman, tear down the sign.
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CAVUTO: And my next guest has taken the brunt of it.
Joining me now is Lenard Liberman. He is executive vice president of Liberman Broadcasting, also the guy responsible for the billboard.
Lenard, good to have you.
LENARD LIBERMAN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, LIBERMAN BROADCASTING: How are you?
CAVUTO: You knew what you were getting into when you did this, right?
LIBERMAN: No, really, I didn't. Actually, I was quite surprised.
CAVUTO: So, you say Los Angeles, Mexico, and you're surprised it would get the reaction it would?
LIBERMAN: Well, again, the way I look at it, if I put Los Angeles, England, there and put Big Ben in the middle of the city and dressed my anchors in tweed jackets, nobody would care. I think the operative word that has gotten everybody riled up is Mexico. And I couldn't have anticipated the racism. I just couldn't have.
CAVUTO: It's more than racism, though, right? Immigration and a lot of illegal immigration issues in the state and in that region certainly weren't lost on you, right?
LIBERMAN: Well, it's true. Lately, the immigration has become a very big issue. It's been on the front pages of the newspapers with the Minutemen.
But consider that this billboard was created in January. The artwork was done in February and March. And it was really brought up in May because of the May sweeps with Nielsen to promote my station, Channel 62.
CAVUTO: All right. Now, obviously, ratings have gone up and interest in your station have gone up dramatically. Maybe that is what you were planning. Am I being too jaded?
LIBERMAN: Well, certainly, I wanted to get more ratings, but I really could never have anticipated this kind of reaction.
In fact, when I created the billboard with a few folks that worked with me, I had felt that my biggest risk was alienating my own population, my own audience, by moving the Angel de la Independencia into Los Angeles' skyline. I really can't tell you that I was concerned as much or could have anticipated this kind of reaction, because I just took for granted that everybody living in L.A. realized that L.A. is a Hispanic city.
And I guess people realize it, but they don't want to be reminded of it in front of their faces.
CAVUTO: Yes, but, Lenard, also, you are a very smart businessman and a lawyer. You would know that, by attaching Los Angeles and making it Mexico, whether you are doing it facetiously or not, when a hot-button issue like immigration dominates the state scene, and particularly the Los Angeles area, that you would be creating a firestorm.
LIBERMAN: I guess I was brought up to be a little more tolerant and understanding. It's an advertising campaign for a news station, a news program.
I think that if I bought billboards in Tijuana and Juarez and Matamoros and said, come to L.A. and watch Channel 62 and, by the way, you can get all these great jobs and free food, that would be something controversial to promote illegal immigration. I've been knocked as some sort of promoter of illegal immigration.
But how can a board based in L.A., promoting itself to 2.68 million documenting Hispanics living in L.A., be promoting illegal immigration?
CAVUTO: But there are plenty of undocumented ones, right? Isn't that the issue?
LIBERMAN: Well, as long as they have a Nielsen meter box, they're who I promote to. And I really am not trying to differentiate. I am simply promoting to the audience in Los Angeles.
CAVUTO: Well, you are pulling them down now, right? You're pulling these billboards down now?
LIBERMAN: We are exchanging the artwork. That's true.
CAVUTO: And what's going in the new ones?
LIBERMAN: The new one would be essentially the same facade without Los Angeles, Mexico, on the top line.
CAVUTO: But the bottom line is, you have got more people watching your broadcasts, right?
CAVUTO: So, you won?
LIBERMAN: Well, I won in certain respects, but I guess I lost in others. And there have been anti-Semitic comments made because of this, and there's been a lot of racist comments made. And that's really sad to me. And I don't know if it's worth the price, having stirred up the kind of feelings that have been stirred up.
CAVUTO: Lenard Liberman, thank you for this. We appreciate the update on this whole controversy in Los Angeles.
LIBERMAN: Thank you.
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