Thursday, 12 November 2009

Lou Dobbs Quits CNN, John King Will Step In

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Lou DobbsCNN Anchor Lou Dobbs announced on the air on November 11 that he was resigning from the network to pursue other unspecified opportunities. John King, currently anchoring the Sunday political news program State of the Union, will step in to replace Dobbs early next year. Various anchors will fill in for Dobbs until then.

Having been with CNN since its beginning in 1980 save for two years off to start the website, the 27-year veteran anchor has recently focused his Lou Dobbs Tonight program on the impact of U.S. trade policy on the American economy, the loss of middle class jobs, and the growing problem of illegal immigration. He would like to find a venue where he can address these topics without constraint.

“Over the past six months, it’s become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country and affecting all of us,” Dobbs stated in the opening to his program. “And some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond my role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem-solving, as well as to contribute positively to a better understanding of the great issues of our day. And to continue to do so in the most honest and direct language possible.” reported on November 11 that Dobbs might embark on a presidential campaign in 2012. “It’s not that he sees himself as a politician,” said an associate of Dobbs. “But he honestly believes that this is his time, that he has something constructive to contribute to the political discourse.”

Dobbs said on air that the issues of trade, jobs, and immigration “are now defined in the public arena by partisanship and ideology rather than by rigorous, empirical thought and forthright analysis and discussion. I’ll be working diligently to change that as best I can.”

CNN President Jonathan Klein revealed his aversion to Dobbs’ “forthright analysis and discussion” when he addressed network employees via a conference call on November 12. Speaking of John King replacing Dobbs, Klein said: “John doing that show is obviously a statement about the importance of real nonpartisan news to CNN, and also the importance of political coverage to CNN.” According to an employee who transcribed the call, Klein added, “Having made a statement that we’re all about nonpartisan journalism and outstanding journalism, we have to live up to that. We have got the hardest mission.”

Klein may think it’s hard to join the rest of the mainstream media in their bias toward the liberal left, but he obviously refused to take the harder course of retaining Dobbs in the face of complaints from radical groups. Roberto Lovato, co-founder of the Latino empowerment website, celebrated Dobbs’ departure as a victory for his group’s campaign to have Dobbs fired.

“Our contention all along was that Lou Dobbs — who has a long record of spreading lies and conspiracy theories about immigrants and Latinos — does not belong on the ‘Most Trusted Name in News,’ ” Lovato said. “We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has this legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate.”

If Lovato thinks Dobbs is inciting hate, then what would Lovato say about a shot fired at Dobbs’ home while his wife was outside? Fox News reported on October 29 that this incident came after Dobbs received threatening phone calls. The hate in this case likely belongs to radical forces willing to use violence to silence critics of illegal immigration.

Dobbs hasn’t been talking to Fox News about employment, though a position with the network is not hard to imagine. “At this point, I’m considering a number of options and directions,” Dobbs said. “I assure you, I will let you know when I set my course.”

Photo of Lou Dobbs: AP Images

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