CNN KEEPS SCRAMBLING TO DEAL WITH DOBBS FIASCO…. Adam Serwer noted yesterday that the whole Birther movement “is probably hurting CNN more than it’s hurting the GOP.” That’s a very persuasive point. The fact that the Republican base has more than its share of nuts is well established, but CNN wants to be taken seriously, and Lou Dobbs’ strange obsession with nonsense makes that difficult.
According to a Media Bistro report today, CNN President Jon Klein contacted some “Lou Dobbs Tonight” staffers yesterday to explain that the Birther story is baseless. Klein reminded the staffers that he asked CNN researchers to investigate the matter, and found that the allegations are baseless. “It seems this story is dead,” Klein said in his email, “because anyone who still is not convinced doesn’t really have a legitimate beef.”
But Dobbs is still Dobbs, and the legitimacy of a story has no bearing on what he puts on the air.
Specifically, Klein told the show’s staffers that Dobbs “should be sure” to explain to CNN viewers that the Hawaii Health Department went paperless in 2001, but the official record of Obama’s birth is now an official electronic record, just as all birth records in Hawaii are for those born after 1908.
Dobbs interpreted those instructions from the head of CNN by telling viewers:
[A] number of Americans are asking, why not? The left-wing media has attacked me because I simply asked the question. Meanwhile, the state of Hawaii says it can’t release a paper copy of the president’s original birth certificate because they say the state government discarded the original document when the health department records went electronic some eight years ago.
That explanation, however, has not satisfied some critics. Joining me now….
And with that, Dobbs did yet another segment on the imaginary story — the one the president of CNN declared “dead” — including an interview with a right-wing congressman supporting the Birther legislation.
The Southern Poverty Law Center argued today that it’s time for CNN to show Dobbs the door. That would likely make Dobbs something of a conservative martyr, but a) he’d quickly get picked up for Fox News; and b) it’s a chance I’d be willing to take.