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Tilting at Windmills

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July 24, 2009

CNN KEEPS SCRAMBLING TO DEAL WITH DOBBS FIASCO.... Adam Serwer noted yesterday that the whole Birther movement "is probably hurting CNN more than it's hurting the GOP." That's a very persuasive point. The fact that the Republican base has more than its share of nuts is well established, but CNN wants to be taken seriously, and Lou Dobbs' strange obsession with nonsense makes that difficult.

According to a Media Bistro report today, CNN President Jon Klein contacted some "Lou Dobbs Tonight" staffers yesterday to explain that the Birther story is baseless. Klein reminded the staffers that he asked CNN researchers to investigate the matter, and found that the allegations are baseless. "It seems this story is dead," Klein said in his email, "because anyone who still is not convinced doesn't really have a legitimate beef."

But Dobbs is still Dobbs, and the legitimacy of a story has no bearing on what he puts on the air.

Specifically, Klein told the show's staffers that Dobbs "should be sure" to explain to CNN viewers that the Hawaii Health Department went paperless in 2001, but the official record of Obama's birth is now an official electronic record, just as all birth records in Hawaii are for those born after 1908.

Dobbs interpreted those instructions from the head of CNN by telling viewers:

[A] number of Americans are asking, why not? The left-wing media has attacked me because I simply asked the question. Meanwhile, the state of Hawaii says it can't release a paper copy of the president's original birth certificate because they say the state government discarded the original document when the health department records went electronic some eight years ago.

That explanation, however, has not satisfied some critics. Joining me now....

And with that, Dobbs did yet another segment on the imaginary story -- the one the president of CNN declared "dead" -- including an interview with a right-wing congressman supporting the Birther legislation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center argued today that it's time for CNN to show Dobbs the door. That would likely make Dobbs something of a conservative martyr, but a) he'd quickly get picked up for Fox News; and b) it's a chance I'd be willing to take.

Steve Benen 4:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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The more of these nutcases that move to Fox News, the better. The nuttier Fox is, the lower its (already minimal) credibility.

Posted by: PaulB on July 24, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

[A] number of Americans are asking, why not? The left-wing media has attacked me because I simply asked the question. Meanwhile, the state of Hawaii says it can't release a paper copy of the president's original birth certificate because they say the state government discarded the original document when the health department records went electronic some eight years ago.

That explanation, however, has not satisfied some critics***********************

Wow, just look at the slanting and negative framing of this issue by Dobbs (italics mine). Please, Dobbs, could you show a bit more bias? Spinmeister.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on July 24, 2009 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever. I don't watch Fox News because they employ psychotics like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. I used to watch CNN, but now I guess I won't until they stop employing their psychotic. Odd that I am stuck with MSNBC by default.

Posted by: Singularity on July 24, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn Beck is much crazier now than he was at Headline News (CNN sister channel). But Fox News has much less credibility than the CNN channels, so the net effect of his move has probably been a wash. Even if he were driven off TV entirely, his psycho fans would find him on the radio quickly enough; at least now he's on a channel that only fanatics take seriously.

All of the same probably would apply to Dobbs, should he spit out the CNN bridle.

Posted by: kth on July 24, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

The left-wing media has attacked me because I simply asked the question.

To quote Jon Stewart, "It's your own f*&@ing network, Lou!".

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on July 24, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Me too. Where do I sign?

b) it's a chance I'd be willing to take.

Posted by: koreyel on July 24, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

[A] number of Americans are asking, why not? The left-wing media has attacked me because I simply asked the question.

Yeah. It does sound like an audition tape.

Posted by: Daryl on July 24, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ted Turner, no right-wing asshole (?) started CNN. WTF happened? Who or what did he sell out to?

Posted by: demoraptor on July 24, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

'Americans are asking. . .'

Everyone else is some kind of Mexican.

Posted by: alan on July 24, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ted Turner, no right-wing asshole (?) started CNN. WTF happened? Who or what did he sell out to?

Time-Warner, whom he (at the time) became vice-chair of. Then he got bought out of that, and CNN's decline began.

Posted by: DJ on July 24, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Alan, you got it.
"Mr Dobbs, are you in favor of allowing Gov. Schwarzenegger to become president? If yes, please explain why that is OK (you racist cracker).

Posted by: jeff on July 24, 2009 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

The Southern Poverty Law Center argued today that it's time for CNN to show Dobbs the door. That would likely make Dobbs something of a conservative martyr, but a) he'd quickly get picked up for Fox News; and b) it's a chance I'd be willing to take.

On a related note: there might be an opening at Fox News.

Posted by: Monty on July 24, 2009 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, then I guess Katie Couric has just been guest-anchoring for Dan Rather (not that the two stories are remotely comparable in terms of credibility: there's no evidence that Obama was born anywhere but Hawaii, and there's ample evidence (besides the memo) that Bush never completed his duties as a TANG reservist).

Posted by: kth on July 24, 2009 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

[A] number of Americans are asking, [...] -- Dobbs

How the hell does he know they're Americans? Has he palpated their birth certificates?

And, Lizzie, dear, your memory must be playing tricks on you (or, maybe, it's the wind blowing in the wrong direction, a la Mary Poppins). Not only was there a big to do about those false records, but a guy (was it Rather?) did get fired over the story.

Posted by: exlibra on July 24, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

I 'view'- in both senses of the word- Lou Dobbs and Glen Beck as second bananas/warm up acts for the main event: John Stewart. . .

Posted by: DAY on July 24, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Shep Smith for Lou Dobbs in a straight up swap. Good trade for CNN. Fox ought to ask for a player to be named later.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 24, 2009 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Would these people accept even the original embossed certificate? They'll just call it a forgery and demand proof that it isn't. Can ANYONE prove their place of birth to the satisfaction of someone determined to disbelieve it? None of us can "prove" a goddamn thing about ourselves that some nutcase refuses to accept as true. Dobbs is an imbecile.

Posted by: DKF on July 24, 2009 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Dobbs has always been a nutjob.. I've been railing against him for the last several years. He's nothing but a opportunist who strokes xenophobic fears..

Posted by: Andy on July 24, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody have info about a march of blacks & latinos against the MSM & racism?

I overheard someone at the store today that it's going to be bigger than the million black march & the immigrant march!

Leave the link if you know of it.

Posted by: annjell on July 24, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK
They'll just call it a forgery and demand proof that it isn't.

That's what they did with the original COLB. There are still an enormous number of these nutcases who are firmly convinced that the short-form birth certificate that Obama provided was fraudulent.

Posted by: PaulB on July 24, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

annjell, no, the only thing I've heard of wrt a March on Washington was at the Free Republic website. Minority groups no doubt still have legitimate grievances. But the have probably the most sympathetic Federal government since the Johnson administration, so I'm not sure why they'd want to take to the streets just now.

Posted by: kth on July 24, 2009 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK
Wow, just look at the slanting and negative framing of this issue by Dobbs

He's famous for that. His poll questions on his CNN website were notorious for being slanted, misleading, or clearly leading to one answer. One example:

Do you believe students should begin each school day reciting the pledge of allegiance without the phrase 'under God?'

Atrios used to have a regular "torture Lou Dobbs" segment where he sent his minions to Lou Dobbs' site to give the answer that Lou very clearly did not want. Sadly, most of those were just links to the main site, so the actual content of those polls has been lost to posterity.

Posted by: PaulB on July 24, 2009 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

The sooner LouLou gets a boot in the ass the better..The guy is useless as a 'news' guy since he does no 'news'...Then as an advocate he's worse ! He and Kitty Pilgrim need to go get a room....

Posted by: Winski on July 24, 2009 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Lou must have received the email I sent on Tuesday that said pretty much the same thing as the SPLC letter.

Posted by: majii on July 24, 2009 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

This is the sort of thing that should have the recently deceased Walter Cronkite churning in his newly dug grave. Dobbs is a faux journalist on a network, like most these days, that blurs entertainment and news. On a scale of 0-10 his gravitas is -5.

Until and unless some barriers between entertainment and news are reestablished our so-called democracy will increasingly become an idiocracy, and we are just about there now. Whether it's the birthers, or the climate change deniers, the primary characteristic lacking in what is called 'news' is credibility. That's what Cronkite had going for him, and why he commanded the respect he did. There is no one, other than Jon Stewart who doesn't even claim to be a journalist, on the 'news' scene who doesn't come across as a poser, an actor, a preening narcissistic jerk who thinks it's all about them not what they claim to be reporting about.

We have Ronald Reagan to thank for much of the current circus called 'news'. Strange how the news has so much of a right-wing and idiotic slant these days.

Posted by: rrk1 on July 24, 2009 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

If he wants to keep Dobbs around, Klein needs to find the balls to say, "Lou, the story is now spiked. It is debunked, done, buried, pushing up the daisies, gone to sing in the heavenly choir, all done." No more criticism, no more advice on what to say when they continue doing spots on it. Spike the story. He's the President of CNN for God's sake.

Posted by: Algernon on July 24, 2009 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

I just read somewhere that despite his urging earlier, Mr Klein isn't going to reprimand his prima donna for ignoring him.

Just as well. Dobbs would probably sue the network for denying him "free speech". Doesn't matter if his "free speech" is a bunch of lies, and what's even sadder is that Dobbs would undoubtedly win.

We, the viewing public, should hold the pundits responsible who make a living by lying to their audiences. We can start by letting their sponsors know - in writing - that we'll be boycotting their products unless the programs recommit to journalistic integrity!

Posted by: mrspeel on July 24, 2009 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with most folks is that they have their favorite loco, in my opinion, Glen Beck, Rusho,and Sean Hannity are loco, others have Franken. Polarizing news personalities of the day are either left-wing or right-wing propaganda. I love Jon Stewart, I love Steven Colbert more because he sees the absurdity of all of it.

Lou Dobbs suprised me with his comments, but I respect him, I do this as an American with Mexican ancestors.

I am against the left/right wing compact to keep the borders not secure. With secure borders we can have Mexicans come here lawfully and pay their fair share of the taxes. Dobbs just states the obivious, that without secure borders we eliminate a chance at good immigration reform.

Dobbs is a great economist. He projected the impending economic meltdown as a by product of off-shoring of manufacturing jobs and obscence credit(housing bubble).

With the status quo, Republicans can have cheap labor and Democrats more voters. With all this hoopla, we can drive everybody to Fox, but I say listen to everybody and be discerning.

Dobbs is married to a "Latina."

Now I have to stop and try to see if I can keep a gig as a call center rep, so I can buy some crap at Walmart!

Posted by: Lupita on July 24, 2009 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Lou Dobbs suprised me with his comments, but I respect him, I do this as an American with Mexican ancestors....Dobbs is a great economist.

I hope that you're a new parody troll, otherwise you're just plain loco.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on July 24, 2009 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Dobbs is generating controversy and controversy sells. In spite of what Klein says, he won't fire him. They like to play both sides against the middle.

Posted by: Always Hopeful on July 24, 2009 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

As for the birthers, I think they know the claims are groundless and Obama could produce a gold plated birth certificate with hospitals and doctors and witnesses listed and it wouldn't make any difference. It's all about their belief that blacks (liberals and Democrats) aren't real Americans. Period.

Posted by: Always Hopeful on July 24, 2009 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

As a real American, I have to ask: is Lou Dobbs a baby-eating homosexual Nazi?

I mean, I'm just asking the question.

Posted by: DH Walker on July 24, 2009 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Don't fire Lou Dobbs.

Hire Janine Garafolo, and put her on in the hour following Dobbs.

Posted by: Winkandanod on July 24, 2009 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Lupita,

In Arabic that would be 'abeed,' which means 'slave'

Yes, the GOP is using cheap labor. However, it's the extreme-right that gets excited and riled up behind this, and gives them the reason to target any and all ethnic groups.

Posted by: annjell on July 24, 2009 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

As long as CNN lets Dobbs go on with this nonsense, they are just another Fox News.

Posted by: freelunch on July 24, 2009 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK
Dobbs would probably sue the network for denying him "free speech". Doesn't matter if his "free speech" is a bunch of lies, and what's even sadder is that Dobbs would undoubtedly win.

Um, no, "free speech" issues only apply to the government. Assuming that there are no contract issues, CNN can fire Dobbs any time they want to.

Posted by: PaulB on July 24, 2009 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

Strange how the liberal news has so much of a right-wing and idiotic slant these days. - rrk1 @ 7:01

fixed. ;-)

Posted by: Kevin on July 24, 2009 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

doogle, @23:54.

In case it has escaped your notice... Dobbs has *not yet* moved to Fux Noise; he's still one of those "CNN losers" you're talking about...

Posted by: exlibra on July 25, 2009 at 12:23 AM | PERMALINK

If CNN fires Lou, the Washington Post will probably hire him to do OpEds.

Posted by: Jon on July 25, 2009 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

If CNN can't shut him up for fear of making him into a right-wing poster boy, they should just run a big text crawler at the bottom of the screen all during Dobb's show: "OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE RUMORS THOROUGHLY DEBUNKED".

Posted by: Don on July 25, 2009 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Elizabeth:

The two stories couldn't be more different. If the TX ANG memos were authentic, would they have disqualified Bush from office? No. Did the story go on for months? No. Did the story go on after serious questions were raised? No. Did people lose their jobs over that silliness? Yes.

You have to be pretty simple-minded to think that none of these differences matter, and that the stories are remotely comparable.

Doogle:

Put down the airplane glue. It's not good for you.

Seriously - to all of you nutcases chiming in: all of what you're saying has been thoroughly debunked. You just don't want to believe it, and no amount of proof will satisfy you. You sound exactly like the dumbasses who think the moon landing was fake. Their "proof" is laughable too.

Posted by: DH Walker on July 25, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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