The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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CNN Running Scared: Network Refuses to Air Media Matters' Ad Calling for Accountability for Dobbs' Promotion of Birther Conspiracies


Today, Media Matters for America responded to the
news that CNN has refused to air a Media
ad calling on the network to credibly address Lou
Dobbs' continued promotion of birther conspiracy theories. A CNN
spokesperson reportedly told
the Politico, "CNN retains the right to object to
any ad run by the cable operator on our network whose purpose is to attack CNN or
our employees."

Watch "CNN's Dobbs Problem":

"This seems like the actions of a network desperate
to provide cover for its primetime host rather than living up to its standard of being the most trusted
name in news,"
Eric Burns, president
of Media Matters. "If
the ad is accurate -- and we know that it is -- then there is no reason
for CNN to block it from its airwaves."


Media Matters bought
a week of ad time on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News in Washington,
D.C., New York,
and Atlanta. As
reported on The Huffington Post, "[F]ive
of the six cable providers contracted for the project have informed the group
that they are declining to put the spot on CNN."

The ad, which was set to air today, calls out CNN for
continuing to allow Dobbs to promote racially charged conspiracy theories about
the validity of President Obama's
birth certificate.

Watch "CNN's Dobbs Problem":

In defending Dobbs' promotion of the
birther conspiracy, CNN president
Jon Klein has become increasingly isolated, even among members of his own
network. Numerous journalists and commentators have rejected the story and
exposed its racially charged
subtext. CNN's
Roland Martin said that
the real question birthers are asking is, "How is this black guy all of the sudden
running the country?"
Similarly, Frank Rich of The New
York Times
that Dobbs was playing on "escalating
white fear,"
while the Politico's Glenn Thrush said the charges were "a proxy for racism." Shortly after Dobbs
began giving renewed credibility to the conspiracy, MSNBC president Phil
Griffin called the story "racist." Even conservative commentators like
Bill O'Reilly and
Ann Coulter have refused to dignify the accusations.

In the wake of such
reactions, an Associated Press article
that ran over the
weekend referred to Dobbs as a "publicity
nightmare" for
CNN. The New York Observer has reported that Dobbs' ratings have been significantly
hurt by the controversy.

During a recent
interview, Klein misrepresented Dobbs'
coverage of birth certificate conspiracies and suggested that Dobbs' coverage of the issue
has been "legitimate." Last week, Klein told
TV reporters that Dobbs'
coverage of the issue has been "all
about the phenomenon of doubters"
-- with Klein suggesting that Dobbs has done nothing more than host discussions
of why "some
people doubt"
that Obama is a U.S.-born citizen.

Klein is not telling the
truth. Dobbs has done far more than simply ask why there are still people who
doubt Obama's
citizenship. He has legitimized their racially charged conspiracy theories by
demanding that Obama produce further documentation -- all to prove something that Klein himself
acknowledges is beyond doubt.

For more
information, please see:

Frank Rich slams "birther enabler" Dobbs for playing on "escalating white fear"

Politico's Thrush: Birther
movement is "a
proxy for racism"

MSNBC president calls
birtherism "racist"

CNN's Martin: Birther's "I want my country back" comment means "How is this black guy all of the sudden
running the country?"

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.