Don’t Let the Door Hit You, Lou

By Bob Gaydos

 Hallelujah! Zippadee doo da! Great day in the morning! Let the children out to play. Lou Dobbs has quit CNN. Or Lou Dobbs was asked to quit by CNN. Or Lou Dobbs was escorted to the door, given a check and told not to come back by CNN. Doesn’t matter why he’s gone; just that he’s gone. Oh happy day.

 Several weeks ago I wrote that if CNN had any intentions of continuing to present itself as a serious journalistic enterprise it should fire Dobbs’ sorry, bigoted ass. That’s the kind of stuff that makes you feel a little better when you write it, but you never expect to come true. Maybe that’s why I felt almost giddy last week when I read that Dobbs had announced he was leaving his cable TV show immediately. The Dour Hour was no more.

 Dobbs said he was leaving “to explore a lot of options.” CNN executives said the decision to leave was Dobbs’s alone. Everyone seemed to agree that the onetime financial news reporter no longer fit CNN’s image as a middle-of-the road provider of straight news. The straight-as-an-arrow John King, he of the magic fingers Election Night touch screen, will replace Dobbs in January. King, a former AP reporter, said he would offer unvarnished news and balanced discussions. Now there’s a concept.

 CNN may take a hit for a while in the ratings in the 7 p.m. slot because the increasingly loony Dobbs had built a following among the rightwing loonies who dominate talk radio and Fox News. Conspiracy theorists find comfort in their own kind. It‘s easier to talk about your socialist Kenyan president or about diseases being spread by illegal immigrants when there’s no one around to challenge you to offer maybe a fact or two to back up your opinion. Dobbs never did that. Instead, in the guise of discussing important topics, he merely became a primary spreader of rumor, fear and hate. He may have done more to harm the discussion of illegal immigration than any other “news” person on TV with his regular forays into fiction and send-them-back-where-they-came-from arguments.

 In the long run, though, I’d like to think that CNN will come out ahead by reasserting its position as a news-based network whose reporters do not engage in ideological rantings. With Fox News totally unbelievable and MSNBC trying to balance that far-right voice with a far-left voice of its own, there has to be a place in cable news where viewers can go to get the news unshaped by opinions from the hosts of the show. CNN has been that place, but Dobbs’ presence was at odds with the rest of the programming and must have become an embarrassment to his bosses. Indeed, Hispanic advocacy groups and media watchdogs had been hammering CNN to dump Dobbs, in large part over his comments on illegal immigration.  

 Dobbs still has a radio show, where he will continue to do what he does because talk radio doesn’t care a whit about what people say on the air. (Aside to my colleague Jeff Page who writes about just that this week: You really expected Kudlow to step in and stop yet another anti-Obama rant? Take ABC off your car radio buttons. You’ll live longer.) Dobbs said he wanted to continue to work in some public manner on the issues he feels are important, immigration and jobs being at the top of the list. He also said he would like to be involved in “constructive problem-solving.”

 Now that would be a switch. If he’s serious, he will soon learn that looking for solutions is much harder than harping on things that bother you and it doesn‘t draw nearly as much applause from your disaffected mob of followers. Here’s an alternative suggestion for Dobbs: Maybe he can sign on with Sarah Palin as an adviser, or even as a running mate. Now that would be a dream ticket for the right-wingers who can’t seem to find anything about this country that they like and aren‘t fussy about the facts. Come to think of it, President Obama probably wouldn’t mind it either, as long as he didn’t have to listen to them.
 Bob can be reached at


One Response to “Don’t Let the Door Hit You, Lou”

  1. MichaelKaufman Says:

    Great piece, Bob. I missed it in the aftermath of Eva-Lynne’s ankle injury and am just catching up with all the posts. I disagree only with your characterization of MSNBC as a “far left” alternative to the right-wing loonies of Fox and talk radio. MSNBC mostly provides a progressive, liberal Democrat point of view. Unfortunately, the political climate in this country has shifted so far to the right beginning with the Reagan years that this is now seen by many presumably objective observers as “far left.”

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