Lou Dobbs Runs For The Border: Yo Quiero Zorro Noticias

CNN’s resident immigrant basher and birther booster, Lou Dobbs, has announced that he is leaving the network effective immediately.

This comes as somewhat of surprise, as Dobbs was considered to be secure in his position despite significant protest from civil rights groups. But it is hardly out of the blue. There has been frequent speculation about Dobbs’ future with CNN. His opponents have mounted well publicized campaigns to persuade CNN to drop the anchor. And many observers have thought that he would be a better fit for a right-wing network like Fox, particularly its struggling business channel. A Fox News spokesman (not a notoriously credible source) said that there have been no discussions with Dobbs. However that would contradict reports a month ago that Dobbs was seen dining with Fox CEO Roger Ailes in September.

However plausible a Fox/Dobbs partnership may appear, Dobbs’ on-air farewell struck a tone that suggested another possibility entirely:

“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 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.”

Dobbs went on to lament what he called “the lack of true representation in Washington, D.C.” There was an unmistakable ring of political aspiration in his remarks. Does this mean he might seek political office? Dobbs lives in New Jersey where they just elected a new governor. The next available senate seat doesn’t come up until 2012. It seems unlikely that Dobbs would give up a multimillion dollar TV gig for anything lower.

If I had to guess, I would venture that he may want to mount an independent campaign for President in 2012. While there would be no realistic scenario in which he could prevail, it would be just the sort of thing to stroke his immense ego. And there is a vocal and motivated minority that is primed to get behind a third party protest candidate. He would sweep up the Beck/Palin malcontents and, in all likelihood, smooth the way for Obama’s reelection.

Closer to home, CNN now has a hole to fill at 4:00pm. Judging by their past timidity, it is unlikely that CNN will replace Dobbs with a partisan from either side of the aisle. The last opening they had was given to Campbell Brown, who is notable for…um…..

If CNN is serious about establishing itself as a straight up news provider in contrast to the modestly left-leaning MSNBC and the raving histrionics of Fox, they will need to find an anchor with journalistic bona fides. They will need to avoid the trap of personality-driven spokesmodels. It would be wise for them to build an investigative news group as the central point of their programming. Adding more news readers like Blitzer or Cooper simply won’t lift them from their cellar dwelling. They need to demonstrate that there is a place for reporting that is probing and informative. And that passion for journalism is not twisted into rancorous blathering.

That’s a tall order, but getting rid of Dobbs is a step in the right direction. Now they have to show that they can embrace this opportunity and aim for something higher. Yeah, I know…I’m not holding my breath.

Update: CNN has announced that their own John King will replace Lou Dobbs. King is an old-school, straight news reporter. This means that CNN is properly moving away from the Fox model of news screeching, but it also means that they are probably not planning on innovating and advancing the state of media. Oh well.


9 thoughts on “Lou Dobbs Runs For The Border: Yo Quiero Zorro Noticias

  1. My guess is that Klein, a conflict-avoider, felt forced by the pressure groups to issue Dobbs an ultimatum, upon which Dobbs promptly called his bluff and proceeded to leave him high and dry. It’s a relief for both of them tho not nearly as much as it is for us.

    • Could be, but I don’t think it came down to a Klein/Dobbs ultimatum. Even without the pressure groups, they’ve hated wach other for years. I think Dobbs has plans and probably an offer already in the bag – either FBN or something political.

      • you’re probably right: he didn’t jump ship until he had another ship to jump to.

  2. Dobbs wouldn’t be a fit at Fox as i think they have enough of there entertainers trying to “Out-Beck” each other everyday..How about if CNN tried to lure Shep Smith over from Fox?? He seems to be an actual news guy who seems to try to distance himself from the carnival barkers he works with..

    • Fox Business Network is dying on the vine. They need star power to draw viewers, and Dobbs does have a name and a fan base. He also has a business background, as that was his role at CNN for twenty years as host of Moneyline. The big celebrity at FBN now is Don Imus. That’s a joke.

      As for Shep, he may occasionally let slip some common sense, but he is more attuned to Fox than CNN. Plus, he is not really an actual news guy. His smirky delivery is that of an entertainer, not a reporter. That’s not a criticism, I actually think it’s cute. But it’s not the demeanor of hard news.

  3. Check out Politico’s “poll” on Dobbs. There isn’t an option for not liking him! Crikey!

    Moving on
    What do you think of Lou Dobbs’s decision to resign from CNN after 30 years?

    I like it. He’s great, and now he can go on to better things.

    I like it. He needed to get off my TV.

    I don’t like it. I want my CNN with lots of Lou.

    I don’t have an opinion.

    Who’s Lou Dobbs?

    • Well, the 2nd option (He needed to get off my TV) isn’t exactly complimentary. And it is presently leading with 43% of the vote.

  4. We close to retirement oldsters, as the rest of America not so far behind us, gew up taking the radio and TV news seriously,

    It was delivered to us flatly, fairly, and with with lille inuendo or commentary by Huntley, and Brinkly, and Cronkite, as if their audience actually had the brains to digest it and formulate our own opinions, which were were, and did.

    Presenting the news was a $ losing obligation taken seriously by the networks although given less time and examination than most felt it deserved, and certainly increasingly begrudgungly.

    To kick up news rating, its department heads were placed under the direction of ratings-observant “entertainment” divisions and real, honest, fact reliant journalists, were replaced with pretty or engagingly biased news readers. Criticism about the degredation in news availabilty and quality was deflected, and still is, by saying they are “commentary” shows, without the need for unbiased reporting, yet they spend most of their breath complaining about repports by others, and political decisions which do not agree with their own.

    In the pursuit of $ we have lost respect for thorough fair and honest news delivery and most Americans who watch such programming looking for it watch (and therefore reward sponsors who present) uneducated, imbalanced, jingoistic responses to the day’s events.

    Sadly, and freightenly, mass communication tools such as modern TV have sadly disapppointed their famous boosters – individuals and institutions- and even in our free society, these money grubbers place profits before country and are happy to risk accentuating our differrences at huge societal risk when it means substantial profits to trather than focusing on our challenges comstructively, the resulant loss is responsible journalism for the good of the country, and eventually, hatred and division fueled by those who get paid hansomely for shoving the mike in the face of a bomb thrower rather than a mediator.

    • Thanks for that insightful and depressing analysis. I thoroughly agree. The profit motive has destroyed TV news.

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