Friday, November 13, 2009

Bye Bye Lou

Lou Dobbs has left CNN.
Dobbs, the newsman and commentator known for his incendiary rhetoric about illegal immigrants, was the last original CNN on-air personality from the cable news channel's inception in 1980. Originally a financial reporter and the anchor of CNN's Moneyline from the 1980 to 1999 and from 2001 to 2003 (anchors Willow Bay, a former Estée Lauder model, and Stuart Varney, hosted in the two-year gap), Dobbs revamped his show as "Lou Dobbs Tonight." The focus of the show moved from financial reporting to economic populism, and Dobbs became a hero to many by championing fair trade and opposing economic policies that was costing the middle class their jobs.
Then he jumped the shark. Dobbs became a fierce critic of illegal immigration, insisting that Mexicans entered the country illegally were draining the U.S.'s resources (ignoring the white businessmen who hired these immigrants), and he even accused them of being responsible for seven thousand leprosy cases reported over three years (the actual figures were seven thousand cases reported over thirty years, few if any caused by Mexican immigrants). The fact that Dobbs's wife is a Mexican-American failed to inoculate him from criticism (or leprosy), and it shouldn't have. His immigrant-bashing was as much as class issue as it was a race issue.
Dobbs's opining got in the way of factual reporting - he suggested that President Obama might have indeed been born outside the United States - and he was told to stay with straight reporting if he wanted to stay on CNN. He chose not to. He now hopes to become active in the "political arena."
John King is replacing him, and he hopes to offer more opportunities for more diverse opinions on the show. John King? Hmm, couldn't they have gotten Willow Bay again? :-)

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