|Reaction: In Praise of Lou Dobbs
|Mr. Independent wants to thank each and every one of you who reached out with your support in the aftermath of his departure from CNN. And a special thanks to some people who used their pens and keystrokes to do so. Here are just a few examples...
Michael Goodwin: Dobbs more correct than 'right'
Years ago I overheard two editors talking about a reporter. "He's a pain in the ass," the first said, to which the second gave an unforgettable response: "He is, but he's worth it. A lot of them aren't."
Lou Dobbs was worth it, and CNN is diminished for losing him.
In the cliché of the day, he was "controversial." He was a lightning rod who wore out his welcome after 30 years.
But before we bury him for his flaws, let's remember Dobbs was right on many issues facing America, and was often first. Even Jon Klein, his former boss at CNN, conceded Dobbs defined the terms of key debates.
"Lou is an original thinker who didn't defer to the herd," Klein told me. "The herd often looked to him."
Take illegal immigration. When more than 600,000 people marched in LA in 2006, shutting schools and stopping commerce, news reports caught the crowds' fever and found nothing objectionable in Democrats urging them on.
Not Dobbs. Why, he wondered, were so many waving Mexican flags? He found demands for "our rights" curious, given many marchers were in the US illegally. Why were politicians supporting them and encouraging students to skip school?
The result was that, along with mostly Republicans, he helped defeat an amnesty bill. At the same time, he championed the status of legal immigrants, a distinction his critics ignored as they accused him of "hate" speech.
I saw his passion firsthand as a proud contributor to his show for two years.
But Klein is right that Dobbs' populist advocacy made him an odd fit at CNN, which calls itself neutral but in truth fits comfortably into media soft-shoe liberalism. Whatever its virtues, audiences are abandoning CNN for its rivals.
Sometimes Dobbs enjoyed fights too much. Calling people "idiots" and "scumbags" undermined his towering talent and embarrassed his colleagues.
Yet his commitment to facts trumped his stridency, as it did in his crusade against a Bush White House plan to let a Dubai firm operate U.S. ports. This time it was Dems jumping on his bandwagon to scuttle the deal.
His books expounded on his themes, their titles reflecting Dobbs' aversion to nuance: "Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed is Shipping American Jobs Oversees."
The second was "War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War on the American Dream and How to Fight Back."
Last year, it was "Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit."
For certain, his spirit is awake and independent and, if we are lucky, we have not seen the end of Lou Dobbs.
Ed Rollins: Dobbs and CNN were no longer in sync
In this past week of very important news -- when the president presided over the memorial service for the slain soldiers of Fort Hood and departed on his first Asia trip, and the attorney general made the controversial decision to treat the mastermind terrorist of 9/11 as a criminal to be tried in a Manhattan civilian courtroom -- the story of the departure of longtime CNN anchor Lou Dobbs still jumped out.
CNN did its usual first-rate job of covering those other stories, but the Dobbs departure is still somewhat of a mystery. It is a hard story to cover, because Lou is family. And it's far more than a story about changing anchors. It's a story about the direction of the "news business" and cable television's role in that business.
Lou Dobbs is the last of the original news anchors hired by Ted Turner; he started with CNN in 1980. Over the past 30 years, he has been one of the stars and certainly one of the biggest names in the cable news business. As was obvious to anyone who watched or knew Lou personally, he was a big personality who edited and ran his own show.
He evolved over that period from a mainstream Republican who was an expert on the business world to an independent who represented the anger and plight of the working class. His resignation Wednesday caught nearly everybody by surprise, including his staff and certainly his viewers.
For the past several years, I have been a regular commentator on his show and have enjoyed his company socially. He is smart, knowledgeable, a man of integrity and most certainly a man of strong opinions. He believes deeply in the values of this country and has no casual thoughts. And he believed in expressing those opinions on air nightly, no matter what controversy they may have stirred. And in many cases, they did stir controversy.
He made it very clear Monday night, on Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox News, that he and CNN management differed only on the question of advocacy journalism, and the parting was amicable.
Lou believes in taking a point of view and fighting for it. CNN management and many of the other CNN anchors differ on that philosophy. They believe in presenting the news fully and letting you, the viewer, decide on your own positions. Click here for more...
John Towriss, "The Lou Dobbs I Know"
I've been gone from CNN for a half dozen years but during my 21 years there and as another CNN original like Lou Dobbs I had chance to interact with Lou several times during my career and have stayed in occasional touch with Lou since leaving CNN. I'm no different than many both inside and outside CNN who have winced at some of the things Lou has said in recent years as he has become increasingly more opinionated on the air. The move towards opinion journalism has become a tide that few news executives -- including CNN's current top guy -- Jon Klein -- seem able to stop. Some news execs have encouraged it, especially as FOX News ratings have soared. Phil Griffin (another former colleague) at MSNBC has embraced it in prime time. As an admitted journalism "purist" I don't like it but it has washed over almost everything in news today making much news coverage barely distinguishable from blogs, commentary or anyone with a Twitter account (my view and understand if some would disagree).
Interestingly, like most things with Lou, he saw it before most of the others did and rode the front of the wave not the back. Even Lou's critics would have to admit that Lou is a "leading edge" guy not a "trailing indicator" guy. I've listened to and read many of Lou's critics -- who are having a field day since Wednesday night's announcement that he was leaving-- and some make salient points. But I have to square that criticism with the Lou Dobbs I know personally, from places many of his critics are unaware, will never be and wouldn't know how to find anyway.
I'm talking about the factory floor where news is made, the boots-on-the-ground, journalism where actual news stories are usually discovered. This is where I knew and interacted with Lou Dobbs. Not opinionated Anchor Lou Dobbs, but the hands-in-the-dirt journalist Lou Dobbs. The one that has been awarded more than a few times for his coverage of hard news. It's a different view and with the gush of grist on Lou it is a perspective I think is worth being heard. Click here for more...
Cindy Adams, "Dobbs Discontent"
LOU Dobbs' abrupt exit from CNN? A surprise. Lou Dobbs' longtime disaffection with CNN? No surprise. They were waltzing together as closely as Kate and Jon.
Lou Dobbs' brain and intellect -- and ego -- are as large as his mouth. Smart, knowledgeable, opinionated, he goes the way he wants to go.
Defender of gun ownership, he swings right on gun control. Supporter of gay rights and women's right to choose, he's left on social issues. Ahead of the curve, the man predicted the fiscal crisis. Raised the hammer on corporate profiteering at the expense of the middle class. Pointed out flaws in the bank-bailout bill. Waged war on border security, exposing how the feds have lost track of visas, and five years later the subject of immigration became mainstream dialogue.
His interminable fight on behalf of border agents Ramos and Campion?
Remember how the US government subsequently commuted their sentences? He analyzed. He predicted. He never saw an argument that wasn't a fight. Lou Dobbs is brilliant. Fearless. Determined to go how he wants to go. He takes sides. CNN doesn't take sides. CNN's mantra is neutrality. CNN was formed to bring the story, not the slant, to planet Earth. An information highway, the route of this giant worldwide cable network is reporting situations, not establishing positions. They're into anchors, not advocates. They know about big-time know-it-alls -- right-winger Bill O'Reilly, left-winger Keith Olbermann, right-winger Sean Hannity, left-winger Rachel Maddow, Fox on the right, MSNBC on the left, and they've surely heard of our de facto president Rush Limbaugh. Not for them. Result? Longtime tensions. Hassles. Lou didn't fit their mold. Whispers around were words like "disdain...animosity ... "
Even times he led the network, he didn't get A-1 promotion. CNN chief Jon Klein and Lou Dobbs, totally professional old-school gentlemen -- and I know them both -- never ever never criticized each other. Publicly, they praise one another. But we whose job it is to have ears to the ground and eyes everywhere else, knew something had to give. Loving advocacy journalism, Peck's Bad Boy, who'd rather say "Eff you" than "OK, I will," would not toe the line. "Bland" is a word Lou Dobbs can barely pronounce. With time to go on his contract, possibly this moment of farewell -- which caught even staffers off-guard -- suited him. Look for an announcement from him.
Joseph Farah, "Lou Dobbs, real newsman"
The departure of Lou Dobbs from CNN after 30 years leaves the network in a state of programming irrelevancy.
For years there has been just one reason to tune in to CNN. His name was Lou Dobbs.
What makes Lou Dobbs so special is his independence and fearlessness. Dobbs clearly set his own agenda. He had no interest in the "conventional wisdom" of his industry. Dobbs thinks like a real American newsman a throwback to an age when journalists actually believed they were watchdogs of government and asked tough questions in the interests of the people.
When virtually his entire profession and elites in all the other political and cultural institutions of our time were making excuses for allowing tens of millions of illegal aliens to occupy our country, Lou Dobbs was alone in his focus on the issue critical to America's safety and security.
When virtually his entire profession and elites in all the other political and cultural institutions of our time were making excuses for Barack Obama's unwillingness to prove his constitutional eligibility to serve in the White House by simply showing the American people his long-form birth certificate, Lou Dobbs was alone in asking why.
Even this week, when virtually his entire profession and elites in all the other political and cultural institutions of our time were in denial that what happened at Fort Hood was a completely avoidable terrorist attack if only political correctness didn't rule the day, Lou Dobbs was alone in stating the obvious.
Someone this good will be picked up soon by another network or news organization, right?
Sadly, I'm not so sure.
Let me be the first to say I would be proud to work with Lou Dobbs. He's got his pick of assignments here at WND. I would be honored to work for him and it's been a long time since I worked for anyone.
Click here for more...
David Bauder, "Dobbs says his departure from CNN was amicable"
Lou Dobbs says he doesn't feel like he was pushed out of CNN, the news organization where he worked for all but two years of its existence until last Wednesday.
"Not at all," he said in a weekend interview. "I don't know if people will believe it, but we had a very amicable parting on the best of terms. I spent 29 years there building that company, and I wish everyone there nothing but the best, and they have reciprocated with me."
He announced his resignation on "Lou Dobbs Tonight," finished the newscast and walked out of CNN.
It's hard to know whether the abruptness or the lack of rancor surrounding the exit was more noteworthy. Dobbs' outspokenness had made him a political target - so much so that there were parties celebrating the departure over the weekend - and an uncomfortable contradiction to what CNN says it wants to be. Click here for more...
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