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CNN’s War on Lou Dobbs

Printer Friendly VersionPrinter Friendly VersionSend to a FriendSend to a FriendAccuracy in Media's blogs have already acknowledged Lou Dobbs' resignation from CNN, but the story here requires a little more delving.  Reading about the situation, I cannot help but remember someone else's recent resignation-which turned out to have a lot more behind it. As it turns out, leftist organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Media Matters have been working hard to get Dobbs off the air for months.  On July 24, 2009, SPLC President Richard Cohen wrote to CNN President Jonathan Klein to complain that Dobbs was "questioning" the verity of President Obama's birth certificate and "push[ing] racist conspiracy theories [and] defamatory falsehoods about immigrants."  On the other hand, Media Matters' George Soros funded the Drop Dobbs website, which since September 2009 has been featuring charming pages on Dobb's "History of Hate."  This Drop Dobbs campaign has been taken up by a number of radical organizations, including the National Council of La Raza, and the Center for New Community. For those who don't know, La Raza is a far left, racist radical group.  As AIM's Cliff Kincaid pointed out:

Tancredo had called the Council a Latino KKK because the commonly accepted definition of the term "La Raza," meaning "the race," has clear connotations of a racial or racist agenda. The Council insists that "La Raza" has been "mistranslated" and only means "the people" or "community." But whatever the definition or translation, the term still refers to putting group rights above individual rights.

The Center for New Community, on the other hand, has a grander goal.  The Center is fixated on "transform[ing] the world" by addressing "contemporary social, economic and racial justice issues" and "mak[ing] real the vision we share for a new community, and a nation in which the dimity and value of all humanity is manifest." It remains to be seen how the Center will make the dimity of humanity manifest.   Dobbs quit on the air; you can read the transcript of it all here.  It's worth noting that his decision came after "talks" with CNN President Klein-kind of like how Van Jones' resignation came after "talks" with Jonathan K. Carson, the chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  Examine Dobbs' words of resignation (emphasis my own):

I truly believe that the major issues of our time include the growth of our middle class, the creation of more jobs, health care, immigration policy, the environment, climate change, and our military involvement, of course, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But each of those issues is in my opinion informed by our capacity to demonstrate strong resilience of our now weakened capitalist economy and demonstrate the political will to overcome the lack of true representation in Washington, D.C. I believe these to be profoundly critically important issues and I will continue to strive to deal honestly and straightforwardly with those issues in the future.

Unfortunately, these issues 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. And, as for the important work of restoring inspiration to our great free society and our market economy, I will strive as well to be a leader in that national conversation.

It would appear as though Dobbs' true reason for leaving is that his "rigorous empirical thought" and "forthright analysis and discussion" of capitalist issues are now viewed as "partisan" and "ideological," and clearly, CNN would never stand for anything partisan or ideological on their channel, ever.  That's why they have balanced, objective reporters like Fareed Zakaria and Anderson Cooper. This is the second time this year CNN has chased away a conservative; early on in 2009, Glenn Beck left the network to pursue his career with Fox News (although the deals were signed in October 2008).  And apparently, this hasn't worked out well for them yet.  CNN is still failing when it comes to prime-time news, as WTOP.com reports:

CNN's average prime-time audience was third behind Fox and MSNBC during October, and it was even eclipsed by sister network HLN among younger viewers, according to the Nielsen Co. Perhaps more ominous, CNN finished well behind Fox when big news was breaking Election Night [sic] and the Fort Hood massacre. Big stories usually sent viewers flocking to CNN.

On November 11, 2009, CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton said that he wanted CNN to deliver "factual" and "timely" news around the world, stating, "We compete against a lot more than Fox and MSNBC."  Well, "compete" is a strong word for Walton to use, considering that at any given time, Fox News has at least twice and often three times as many viewers.  Maybe it's wishful thinking-especially since CNN just ditched Dobbs, its last prime-time conservative, and the only one who could reasonably compete for the conservative-leaning audience of Fox. 
  Allie Winegar Duzett is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.