Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

CNN won’t go after Lou Dobbs for promoting racist birther stories to win the Media Putz

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Originally published on on July 30, 2009


In the biggest battle over control of an insane asylum since the struggle between R.P. McMurphy and Nurse Ratched, we don’t know who is in charge of CNN: Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/US or anchor Lou Dobbs.

You would think that Klein would get the nod. After all, Klein has been the president since November 2004. And he did step up to declare the birther issue a “dead” story late last week.

“It seems to definitively answer the question,” Klein wrote in a network memo, according to TVNewser. “Since the show’s mission is for Lou to be the explainer and enlightener, he should be sure to cite this during your segment tonite. And then it seems this story is dead — because anyone who still is not convinced doesn’t really have a legitimate beef.”

Well, that’s it. The president of CNN said the birther story is “dead” so we won’t hear anymore from that. Uh, wait, Mr. Dobbs, you had something to say?

Lou Dobbs keeps talking about it, even though his boss declared it a dead story. Klein doesn’t seem that bothered.

“Look, Lou’s his own show, and CNN in general has repeatedly and thoroughly reported on the facts behind this situation,” Klein said to The Plum Line. “We respect our viewers enough to present them the facts and let them make up their own minds.”

Klein keeps mentioning facts, but the birther movement prides itself on a lack of facts. And media people who encourage such behavior on a “news” channel also aren’t dealing with the facts.

When Lou Dobbs goes on CNN and says we don’t have a birth certificate, and there already is one, then CNN isn’t dealing with the facts.

When Klein first stepped up and admonished Dobbs for his misleading coverage, there was some encouragement that maybe CNN could take a principled stand on news issues. Won’t make that mistake again.

Klein went to a lot of trouble: cable news channel presidents rarely speak up on news issues. So Dobbs’ birthers obsession was clearly significant enough for a response. After all that effort, Dobbs ignores Klein and the birthers continue to get “legitimacy” from CNN.

Klein’s docile reaction hints that ratings are more important than integrity. Of course, choosing ratings over integrity is SOP in TV cable news, and isn’t enough to make you a Media Putz.

The ratings chase hangs on the MSM’s need to feed the frenzy of every right-wing crackpot theory from teabaggers to “euthanasia counseling” to birthers.

However, what makes CNN’s actions worthy of the award is their sham for ratings is based solely on innuendo with its base in racism.

On Tuesday, before CNN’s Television Critics Association summer press tour presentation, Klein said:

“Our journalistic quality is higher than it’s ever been.”

When one of your anchors undermines this by clearly avoiding the facts, when he blows off your stance on the matter, when your explanations don’t add up, your “journalistic quality” isn’t that high. For letting the inmates run the asylum, for throwing out journalistic integrity for a racist-based tirade completely devoid of facts, CNN wins the Media Putz award.


Written by democracysoup

July 30, 2009 at 6:00 am

Posted in media criticism, MSM

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