BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White
Recently, I’ve heard a lot of fretting over the supposedly venerable CNN host Lou Dobbs giving legitimacy to the birther movement. His reports ignoring the fact that President Barack Obama has been proven to be an American citizen are reviving what many had assumed to be a defeated effort to have Obama ousted because he allegedly doesn’t meet the requirements to be president.
Now, I don’t like giving these people any more press than I have to, having already given my opinion on this nuttiness and its twisted roots. But I do think this should be said: Dobbs probably doesn’t believe that stuff; he’s looking for a new job.
Dobbs willfully ignores the fact that each presidential birth certificate court challenge has been dismissed by judges who clearly see through the birther movement as political and lacking any evidence. But he also somehow missed the fact that his own network has thoroughly debunked the myth. The folks at Media Matters put this video together so Dobbs could see the error in his ways:
Media Matters released a statement with the video calling on CNN to act:
“CNN has a very serious Lou Dobbs problem on its hands,” said Eric Burns, president of Media Matters. “All eyes are on CNN to see how the network will handle a host who has clearly become a stain on its journalistic credibility.”
But it’s another network that should act on this: Fox News. Just like they picked up Glenn Beck when he got too nutty for CNN’s Headline News channel, Fox needs to grab this opportunity to get Dobbs while he’s hot. In fact, back when the Fox/Beck negotiations were reported, The New York Times noted that a rebroadcast of Dobb’s 6 p.m. show would be replacing Beck’s daily 9 p.m. rerun.
Naturally. Despite appearances, Dobbs is not as far off from Beck as one might think. He’s just a little more staid (which isn’t saying much).
The birther movement has clearly racist elements: They’re upset that a black man is running the country. Obama may have a birth certificate, but they don’t care. They don’t believe he has the genetic credentials to run this country.
Dobbs falls under the same paranoia that has beset other birthers. Dobbs’ long history of protectionist and anti-immigration obsession is a running example of Dobbs using a non-story (or taking what could have been a story one night and making it the lead every night) as cover for his own xenophobia.
For example, in a report on the Senate immigration bill in 2006 and a supposed “Mexican military incursion,” Dobbs used information from a group linked to white supremacists to describe “militant Latino activists’” efforts to reconquer the American west.
Now, Dobbs is not as obviously stark, raving mad as Beck is. But that makes him even more dangerous. With his newsy accent a subtle mix of Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite, he’s better at bringing people in. Think of Beck as preaching to the choir, while Dobbs doles out forgiveness to repentant former liberals in the confessional.
A droning “they took our jobs” moan may not strike one as quite as inflammatory as Glenn Beck comparing the Obama Administration with Nazi Germany, but it will still be welcome at Fox. They need a stately “most trusted name” to lend legitimacy to the rest of their nutball staff. If they’re smart, Fox will scoop up Dobbs just like they scooped up Beck last year.
I say good riddance to the lot of them, and commend Fox News for performing such a vital service. After all, where would news commentators go after jumping off the deep end, were it not for them?
BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
UPDATE: TVNewser is reporting that CNN/USA President Joe Klein basically told Dobbs to put up or shut up in this e-mail to the staff of Dobb’s show, just as it was airing yesterday:
I asked the political researchers to dig into the question “why couldn’t Obama produce the ORIGINAL birth certificate?”
This is what they forwarded. It seems to definitively answer the question. 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.
Klein added a statement from Hawaii officials explaining that their birth certificates are now only available in electronic format, a fact Dobbs proceeded to dismiss in his segment that night.