CNN’s Dobbs problem

CNN’S DOBBS PROBLEM…. CNN’s Lou Dobbs has, by all appearances, gone mad. He now questions the citizenship status of the president on a daily basis, and tells his audience that he’s a victim of a “liberal media” conspiracy.

CNN has taken to debunking its own host over and over again.

In the wake of Lou Dobbs’ repeated claims on the July 15 edition of his radio show that President Obama needs to “produce a birth certificate” and that Obama’s birth certificate posted online has “some issues,” several of Dobbs’ CNN colleagues as well as other members of the media have debunked Obama birth certificate theories, often ridiculing those who embrace such theories as “nut jobs” who advance “ludicrous” claims that are “more conspiratorial than factual.” Indeed, according to the Los Angeles Times, CNN distanced itself from Dobbs’ comments. Reporter James Rainey wrote: “[O]ne CNN employee reminded me several times that Dobbs’ most pointed assertions were made on his radio program, which is unconnected to CNN.”

Nonetheless, Dobbs has continued to repeat the “birther” claims on both CNN and his radio show, stating on the July 20 edition of his CNN program that the birth certificate questions offered by “passionate supporters” “won’t go away because they haven’t been dealt with, it seems possible to, straightforwardly and quickly,” and saying on the July 21 edition of his CNN show, “We had people, including reporters from the LA Times, calling up because I referred to this. … Instead of calling the White House to ask why they didn’t do it, they’re calling me to ask why I said I don’t know what the reality is. No one does.” Additionally, on the July 21 edition of his radio show, Dobbs criticized “certain quarters of the national liberal media that are just absolutely trying to knock down the issue of President Obama’s birth certificate,” stating that they are “focused on being subservient and servile to this presidency rather than being inquisitive and doing their jobs with, you know, the White House.”

The L.A .Times’ James Rainey spoke to Brooks Jackson, director of Annenberg Political Fact Check and a reporter with 34 years in the business, including 20 at CNN. Jackson said, “CNN should be ashamed of itself for putting some of that stuff on the air.”

Yes, it should. For all the network’s efforts to characterize itself as the real, unbiased cable news outlet, it continues to give Lou Dobbs a high-profile platform for obvious, unsupported madness. It makes Dobbs look like a loon, but more important, it’s a painful embarrassment to CNN.

A network spokesperson distanced CNN from Dobbs’ crazed radio show, and told Rainey, “On CNN, Lou is an independent reporter who covers stories that people are talking about, and often showcases issues that aren’t being covered by the mainstream media.”

For a network that keeps giving very large paychecks to a television personality who is misleading its audience with transparent craziness, this explanation needs some work.