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Jessica Levin (202) 772-8162

Dobbs vs. CNN: How Will Network Solve Serious Problem With Its Premier Host?

WASHINGTON - Today, Media Matters for America called further attention
to Lou Dobbs' continued use of his CNN show and his radio
show to legitimize conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth
certificate. Dobbs' mainstreaming of such claims comes even as other
CNN figures -- including his stand-in, Kitty Pilgrim -- have repeatedly
and resoundingly debunked them, calling them "nutty" and "ludicrous."

"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."

Media Matters
released the following web video today on Dobbs' undermining the network's credibility:


has repeatedly claimed on both his television and radio shows that
President Obama has failed to address the claims of "birther"
conspiracy theorists. He has said that Obama needs to "produce a birth
certificate" and that the birth certificate the president posted online
more than a year ago has "some issues."

However, several of Dobbs' CNN colleagues have distanced themselves from these claims:

  • On the July 17 edition of
    Lou Dobbs Tonight, guest host Kitty Pilgrim


    that CNN "found no basis" for the birth certificate claims and cited
    "overwhelming evidence that proves that his birth certificate is real,
    and that he was born in Honolulu," including Obama's birth certificate

    posted online
  • Later on the July 17
    Lou Dobbs Tonight,
    CNN contributor Errol Louis stated of the theory's proponents, "I think
    what we have here is a case where under the guise of saying, well, we
    can't trust whether or not he should be president because we don't have
    the evidence, it's actually the reverse."
  • On the July 21 edition of
    CNN Newsroom, host
    Rick Sanchez held up a printed copy of Obama's birth certificate and
    then said, "To a large and vocal group of Americans, this paper that I
    just showed you might as well be bathroom tissue. Factual? Maybe.
    Enough to stop the speculation? Absolutely not." He later added: "[W]e
    certainly hope that there are people out there who do their own
    fact-checking, see for themselves what's on the record, and see that
    this seems to be more conspiratorial than factual."
  • On the July 21 edition of
    Larry King Live, CNN political contributor James Carville


    of those who don't believe Obama is a natural-born American citizen:
    "These people are poor -- these poor pathetic people are believing
    stuff, just like -- just like [Liz] Cheney tonight. She refuses to say
    this is ludicrous, because she actually wants to encourage these people
    to believe this. It's just a simple thing. This is a nutty thing.
    There's nothing to this. I disagree with this president's policies."
  • On the July 22 edition of
    CNN Newsroom,
    CNN contributor Roland S. Martin said: "This is a small
    group of nutty people." He also discussed a video clip in which Rep.
    Mike Castle (R-DE) is challenged by a woman who claims Obama has not
    produced a birth certificate. Martin

    the woman's "I want my country back" comment means, "How is this black guy all of the sudden running the country?"

the fact that his colleagues have rejected the "birther" claims, Dobbs
has continued to repeat them on both CNN and his radio show. As Comedy
Central's Jon Stewart asked, referring to Dobbs on the July 22 edition
of The Daily Show,
"Do you even watch CNN?"

  • On the July 22 broadcast of his radio show, Dobbs

    that Obama could "make the whole...controversy simply releasing his original birth certificate."
  • On the July 22 broadcast of his radio show, Dobbs


    to Martin's suggestion that race was fueling the controversy: "I can't
    believe Roland would say something that stupid -- that it's racist."
    Dobbs also called Martin's July 22 commentary dismissing the
    claims "a hoot."
  • Dobbs


    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."
  • On the July 21 edition of his CNN show, Dobbs

    : "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."

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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