CNN representatives -- among them CNN president Jonathan Klein -- have disavowed responsibility for the conspiracy theories aired on Lou Dobbs' radio show by declaring that it is "separate" from what is aired on CNN and that CNN has no "control" over it. But Dobbs regularly uses his TV show to promote his radio show and vice versa; his CNN colleagues frequently appear on his radio show; and his radio syndicator uses Dobbs' CNN affiliation to promote the show.
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CNN claims it's not responsible for Dobbs' behavior on the radio
Klein: Dobbs "does what he does on the radio separate from what he does on our air." On July 28, Klein addressed the controversy surrounding Dobbs' coverage of conspiracy theories concerning President Obama's birth certificate, reportedly saying, "We have no control over what he says on his radio show. It's not a CNN radio program so he does what he does on the radio separate from what he does on our air. So we ask you and anyone writing about this, to look at what he says on CNN. It's the only thing we control." Klein later added, "What he does on the radio is separate and apart from what he does on our air." [Los Angeles Times, 7/28/09]
CNN employee reportedly said Dobbs' radio show unconnected to CNN. The Los Angeles Times' James Rainey reported, "Besides [guest host Kitty] Pilgrim's skin-back report last week, one CNN employee reminded me several times that Dobbs' most pointed assertions were made on his radio program, which is unconnected to CNN." [Los Angles Times, 7/22/09]
Dobbs uses TV show to promote radio show, and vice versa
Dobbs has used his CNN show to promote his radio birther coverage. For example, on his July 28 CNN program, Dobbs recently said, "Well I've repeatedly stated that President Obama is a citizen of the United States. My question is simply why not provide the long form birth certificate and end all of the discussion. Well, to hear my thoughts on all of this, join me on the radio Monday through Friday for 'The Lou Dobbs Show' 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each afternoon on WOR 710 radio in New York all over the country. Go to loudobbs.com to get the local listings in your area. Well, and you can also follow me on loudobbsnews on Twitter.com." And on his July 21 CNN program, Dobbs said, "A reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for the 'Lou Dobbs Show,' 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each afternoon on WOR, in New York City. Go to loudobbs.com to get the local listings in your area for 'The Lou Dobbs Show' on the radio. Please follow me on Twitter.com, on LouDobbsNews on Twitter.com. And yes, tomorrow on radio, we'll also be talking about health care and, of course, without question, that birth certificate."
Dobbs has used his radio show to promote his CNN birther coverage. On his July 23 radio show, Dobbs promoted a debate with CNN contributor Roland Martin on the birth certificate issue scheduled for that night's Dobbs show on CNN. On the radio, Dobbs said to Martin, "We'll talk to you tonight on the Lou Dobbs show on CNN":
DOBBS: But when a substantial number of citizens have a concern, why are they being dismissed and ridiculed, and people acting as if they are some sort of just stupid, you know, silly, irrelevant fringe groups, when, in fact, they are citizens, they pay taxes, and they deserve a response. And if the response is, "The hell with you," you know, that's one response, but I don't think it's adequate. Do you?
MARTIN: What is substantial?
DOBBS: I'm sorry?
MARTIN: What? Five hundred? A thousand? I remember we thought there was going to be a substantial outcry of Hillary Clinton supporters at the Democratic convention. What happened? Nothing happened. I mean, so we say "substantial." OK, substantiate that. How many people?
DOBBS: Well, you know what? You got me there, Roland. And the reason you got me is I'm out of time, but I'm going to be counting up those folks, and I'm going to get you the number. You get ready, partner. OK, Roland, thanks for being with us. We'll talk to you tonight on the Lou Dobbs show on CNN, as a matter of fact. You looking forward to that, Roland?
MARTIN: Absolutely. [The Lou Dobbs Show, 7/23/09]
Dobbs' radio syndicator touts CNN affiliation. United Stations Radio Networks promotes Dobbs' radio show by touting his affiliation with CNN. The December 4, 2007, press release announcing the launch of Dobb's radio show stated, "Dobbs, who is best known as the anchor of the nightly Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, has become an ideological flashpoint himself in recent years and is certain to bring his insightful journalism along with his provocative views to this new daily program." [reprinted by The New York Observer, 12/4/07, accessed via the Nexis database].Similarly, the Lou Dobbs Show page on the United Stations Radio Networks website states, "As a CNN Anchor, Award-Winning Journalist, Best-Selling Author and America's leading voice of reason, LOU DOBBS packs a powerful punch." The page also features several video clips from Dobbs' CNN show, including one of Dobbs promoting his radio show.
Dobbs hosts CNN colleagues on his radio show. Dobbs regularly hosts his CNN colleagues on his radio show and often uses these segments as opportunities to promote CNN, CNN.com, or Lou Dobbs Tonight. Examples include (available in the Dobbs radio archive):
- CNN reporter Ted Rowlands on July 7:
DOBBS: Joining us right now, Ted Rowlands, one of the most outstanding correspondents at the great network, CNN.
- CNN correspondent Inés Ferré on June 29:
DOBBS: Inés Ferré, we'll be -- she'll be reporting live from New Haven, Connecticut tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern on Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN so be sure to be with us.
- CNN host John King on June 22:
DOBBS: And welcoming now, if I may, my colleague, CNN's John King who anchors State of the Union with John King, on Sunday mornings, offering a blend of newsmaker interviews, political analysis, news, even media analysis.
- CNN contributor Ed Rollins on June 18:
DOBBS: Welcome back and welcome back to the broadcast Ed Rollins, CNN contributor, highly regarded Republican strategist and consultant who's worked on a lot of campaigns. Former White House political director, and Ed, it's always great to have you back with us. ... I read your commentary on CNN.com comparing the brave hearts of Iran.
- CNN senior White House correspondent Ed Henry on June 18:
DOBBS: I am delighted to welcome to the broadcast now our senior White House correspondent at CNN, Ed Henry.
- CNN correspondent Casey Wian on June 17:
DOBBS: We're going to turn now to another issue of a dysfunctional state government. And reporting tonight on that, on Lou Dobbs Tonight, on CNN 7 p.m. Eastern, and right here on The Lou Dobbs Show right now and -- is Casey Wian, correspondent extraordinaire.
- CNN contributor Ed Rollins on June 4:
DOBBS: I want to get acquainted with this new fella, Ed Rollins, specifically a political pacifist here. Your newest commentary on CNN.com is entitled "Don't go to war over Sotomayor."
Klein acknowledged that Dobbs' radio show influences his CNN show
Klein said that Dobbs' decisions about his CNN show are "inform[ed]" by his radio show. Asked during a Television Critics Association press tour Q&A whether the birth certificate issue was "a topic you'd rather see [Dobbs] drop at this point," Klein reportedly responded, in part, "I would rather all of our leading journalists rely on their best judgments and instincts and our guidance about them. We believe in the editorial compass of all of our people. It's going to be different according to the individual. But that just makes us a more interesting and vibrant place. Lou is listening to a certain segment of the population all day long on his radio show so naturally that's going to inform some of the decisions that he makes." [Los Angeles Times, 7/28/09]
Dobbs' birther falsehoods happen on CNN, too
Dobbs has used CNN show to engage in birther conspiracy theories. Even if one were to accept CNN dubious assertions that it has no responsibility for Dobbs' radio show, that would not excuse CNN's failure to hold Dobbs accountable for the discredited theories he peddles on CNN. Dobbs has repeatedly -- and falsely -- suggested on CNN that Obama has not released a valid birth certificate.
Dobbs has claimed on CNN that birth certificate provided by Obama is not "the real document." On July 15 on CNN, Dobbs cast doubt on the adequacy of the Obama birth certificate posted by FactCheck.org, saying: "President Obama was born in Hawaii, according to state officials, and copies of his certification of birth -- FactCheck.org, investigating those circumstances prior to the election, and they have a copy of what they say is the original birth certificate posted on their website. It is, in fact, the so-called short form, not the original document. It is really a document saying that the state of Hawaii has the real document in its possession." [Lou Dobbs Tonight, 7/15/09]
Dobbs has suggested it isn't really a "birth certificate." On July 23 on CNN, Dobbs further stated of the birth certificate posted by FactCheck.org: "[T]here's no reference there to the attending physician. There's no reference there to the hospital in which he was born. It is a certificate that refers to the fact that another certificate exists." When CNN contributor Roland Martin asked: "Is it an official state document?" Dobbs replied: "It is a document that says there's another document. ... A copy of his birth certificate would have the doctor, the hospital that he was born in, correct? And this is the -- and, by the way, this is just what people are concerned about." [Lou Dobbs Tonight; 7/23/09]
Dobbs continues to suggest Obama should release birth certificate. Even after Klein sent an email to Dobbs' program declaring the birth certificate story seemingly "dead," Dobbs asked Roland Martin on CNN: "When this could be dispelled so quickly, and -- and simply by producing [the birth certificate], why not do it?" [Lou Dobbs Tonight, 7/23/09]
Dobbs' claims that Obama's birth certificate is inadequate are false
Birth certificate Obama provided "meets all of the requirements ... for proving U.S. citizenship." Contrary to Dobbs' repeated assertions on CNN and his radio show that the birth certificate Obama released is not the "real document," FactCheck.org wrote: "FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate [provided by Obama]. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. ... The certificate has all the elements the State Department requires for proving citizenship to obtain a U.S. passport: 'your full name, the full name of your parent(s), date and place of birth, sex, date the birth record was filed, and the seal or other certification of the official custodian of such records.' " [FactCheck.org, 11/1/08]
Hawaii officials confirm document provided by Obama is "a birth certificate." PolitiFact.com reported that Hawaii officials say that the document provided by Obama "is considered a birth certificate from the state of Hawaii" and that "[c]alling it by other names" is, in PolitiFact's words, "just semantics." [PolitiFact.com, 7/28/09]
From the July 23 edition of United Stations Radio Networks' The Lou Dobbs Show:
DOBBS: Roland is a CNN contributor. He is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of the book Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith, and Speak Brother: A Black Man's View of America. Roland, good to have you with us here on The Lou Dobbs Show.
MARTIN: What's happening, Lou?
DOBBS: Well, I tell you what's happening. You've got Holocaust deniers into this thing. I mean, you brought in a little race deal with the questions about Barack Obama's original birth certificate. My -- you --
MARTIN: Actually, no --
DOBBS: You're playing a whole deck of cards, partner.
MARTIN: No, that's not true. I didn't bring -- I didn't say anything about race. I [inaudible] was --
DOBBS: Oh, you didn't?
MARTIN: -- the biggest issue --
DOBBS: Oh, I thought you said -- I thought you said that folks who were a little upset might be just, you know, concerned about having a black man in the White House.
MARTIN: No, I made the point on television. The piece that I wrote on CNN.com -- because I was actually asked that question -- the point I made on CNN.com, I spoke to the issue of people who are these conspiracy theorists. There are people who don't believe that we landed on the moon. You have [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who does not believe the Holocaust existed, despite evidence being presented, despite folks making the argument. And so when you have people who live by these conspiracy theories, they don't take logic for any kind of answer.
From the July 7 edition of The Lou Dobbs Show:
DOBBS: We're going to the phones in just a moment. We want to turn now to CNN's Ted Rowlands. The star-studded crowd who showed up to say farewell to pop icon Michael Jackson, covered by Rowlands and a few other correspondents across the country, following the private gathering earlier today. Joining me now to talk about it is Ted Rowlands, one of the most outstanding correspondents at the great network, CNN. Ted, great to have you with us.
From the June 29 edition of The Lou Dobbs Show:
DOBBS: The Supreme Court, however, vindicating him and 19 fellow firefighters who had the highest scores on that test. And on Lou Dobbs Tonight, we'll be talking with them about the Supreme Court decision that threw out the city of New Haven -- New Haven's case, ruled in their favor. Those 20 firefighters all getting the promotions they've been denied. We'll have that. We'll be talking and meeting with each and every one of those guys. And we want to extend our congratulations.
We'll also, of course, be reporting on Ricci v. DeStefano, the mayor of the city of New Haven. That's the name of the case. And covering it for us live from New Haven tonight and right now is correspondent Inés Ferré. Good to have you with us.
FERRE: Thanks so much, Lou.
DOBBS: All right. Well, we look forward to your report, as it's been quite a story that you've been covering from the outset. We appreciate it. Inés Ferré, we'll be -- she'll be reporting live from New Haven, Connecticut, tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern on Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, so be sure to be with us.
From the June 22 edition of The Lou Dobbs Show:
DOBBS: And welcoming now, if I may, my colleague, CNN's John King, who anchors State of the Union with John King, airs Sunday mornings, offering a blend of newsmaker interviews, political analysis, news, even media analysis, John? Great to have you with us.
From the June 17 edition of The Lou Dobbs Show:
DOBBS: But not many places can come close to California for the sheer magnitude of a dysfunctional state government. And reporting tonight on that, on Lou Dobbs Tonight, on CNN, 7 p.m. Eastern, and right here on The Lou Dobbs Show right now and -- is Casey Wian, correspondent extraordinaire. And I say that first because he's a world-class journalist, but secondly because he has to cover, in part, at least, a state that sometimes just simply defies rationality and explanation. Casey, good to have you with us.
DOBBS: We'll be talking about this on Lou Dobbs Tonight, 7 p.m. Eastern on CNN. And Casey, I don't know whether the man will be candid about it, but I can't imagine why he would want to go another term as governor of that state. And I can't imagine there would be a lot of competition for the job anyway.
WIAN: They're lining up to replace him, believe it or not, Lou.
DOBBS: Well, again, that's why I get to say, you gotta love California. I appreciate it. Thanks, Casey. I look forward to seeing you.
WIAN: OK, you too.
DOBBS: Casey Wian, one of the just, as I said, world-class journalists who I've had the privilege of working with over the course of these many years at CNN, and a good guy.
From the June 18 edition of The Lou Dobbs Show:
DOBBS: I am delighted to welcome to the broadcast now our senior White House correspondent at CNN, Ed Henry. Ed, great to have you with us.
HENRY: Lou, I'm glad to be on, but I wish you wouldn't call me Ed. You know, it's senior White House correspondent Henry, right?
DOBBS: We appreciate, as always, Ed Henry, you being with us. Our senior White House correspondent at CNN. Thanks so much, Ed, and we'll be talking with you later.
DOBBS: Welcome back, and welcome back to the broadcast Ed Rollins, CNN contributor, highly regarded Republican strategist and consultant who's worked on a lot of campaigns, former White House political director. And, Ed, as always, great to have you back with us.
ROLLINS: Thank you, Lou. How are you doing, my friend?
DOBBS: Well, I'm doing well, and, you know, I read your commentary on CNN.com comparing the brave hearts of Iran. You know, this is a strange period in Iran, and a strange period for this administration. Are they beginning to get it right?
DOBBS: Yeah, I will tell you. I think that -- obviously I work for CNN, and I truly believe that we are seeing an effort to now pull back the veil and to bring critical judgment to the task that is ours, and that is oversight of the United States government of society, and honest, straightforward reporting. And I, you know, I'm very pleased to see that. Is the national media --
From the June 4 edition of The Lou Dobbs Show:
DOBBS: I want to get acquainted with this new fella, Ed Rollins, specifically a political pacifist here. Your newest commentary on CNN.com is entitled "Don't go to war over Sotomayor." Ed, you warn your Republican colleagues that her confirmation isn't the battle to be waged and wouldn't be won. I mean, how sure are you?