Yes, it is true. Lou Dobbs, CNN Anchor, hero of the birther movement and, generally speaking, an anti-immigrant toolbag, has quit CNN.
I can’t even begin to say how much of a relief it is to see him gone, and not because he’s conservative. I think a major news network on CNN deserves and requires a responsible conservative viewpoint. I think MSNBC sucks precisely because it’s so openly liberal, and Fox sucks for many other reasons.
I have my problems with CNN, sure, but many of them are being addressed precisely because of a step like this. I worry that CNN, a network that already has its own bias, was working on moving towards polemicism in an effort to combat Fox News’ growth. I worry, and I had a reason to.
Lou Dobbs, one of the original anchors from CNN, has moved steadily from being a voice of reason to one of unabashed conservative hype. He rails against illegal immigrants, hates taxpayer bailouts, but most importantly he was the godfather of the birther movement. According to the NYT:
Lately, though, he has saved most of his opinions for his afternoon radio show, which made its debut in March 2008. It is on the radio show that he talked repeatedly about the conspiracy-theory claims that President Obama is not a United States citizen. When he mentioned the citizenship issue on CNN over the summer, his bosses were forced to call it a “dead issue.”
Dobbs refused to let the issue die, despite how patently absurd it is. It was the most disappointing step from a once venerable newsman.
If this is a step by CNN to move towards the middle and find a proper, responsible voice, then I applaud it. If it is simply getting rid of an annoying figure, then that’s another thing.
The New York Times has run Dobbs’ closing address. It does make for some interesting reading. Particularly this:
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, and some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day. And to continue to do so in the most honest and direct language possible.
I assume many will be speculating that Dobbs will be moving over to a place like Fox. I would like to float the idea that Dobbs is considering a run for Senate. I think he would be well placed to win a conservative riding, and would continue a long line of blowhard hosts with political aspirations (both liberals and conservatives, of course).
If nothing else, this sort of gives the game away:
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.
There are 36 or 37 Senate seats coming up for election in November 2010, depending on who you talk to. While there is an special by-election coming up in January to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat, I don’t think Dobbs stands a chance of winning in Massachusetts. Of the most likely seats, I think Dobbs will consider running in Missouri (where Kit Bond is retiring) or Kansas (where Sam Brownback is leaving). The only alternate would be to try to take the New Hampshire seat from Judd Gregg as he retires.
We shall see how it pans out, but I wouldn’t put it past old Lou to try and ride the press over his rapid CNN departure all the way to the capitol.
[Update: It appears that many are speculating that Dobbs will run for President in 2012. I still believe my guess is the correct one, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. ]