Lou Dobbs’ departure from CNN was abrupt but maybe not too surprising. (See “What’s next for Lou Dobbs?” and watch his goodbye speech) Dobbs had become a lightning rod for his political commentary on illegal immigrants and, more recently, Obama “birther” conspiracy theories, just as CNN—running third in a three-network race with Fox News and MSNBC—is trying to position itself as the only neutral cable news channel. Will Dobbs’ exit help CNN win viewers craving a no-spin oasis?
This is a ratings disaster for CNN: “If you thought CNN’s ratings could not sink any lower,” says Danny Gallagher in TV Squad, Dobbs’ exit leaves “a gaping hole in the ocean floor.” And, although no one is confirming it, Dobbs is surely leaving to join Fox News, which only adds insult to injury.
“Lou Dobbs quits CNN”
CNN has nothing to gain by going partisan: CNN is replacing Lou Dobbs with newsman John King, says Al Tompkins in Poynter Online, so clearly "the ratings-challenged network" is reasserting itself as "the straight-down-the middle network." Yes, CNN's still "flailing in the ratings," but it has little to gain by going partisan, since it already gets the most Democratic viewers and Fox News has a lock on Republicans.
“Will Dobbs be replaced by partisan commentator?”
Who cares about CNN? This is bad for America: If it’s not going to challenge Fox News and MSNBC, says Jason Zengerle in The New Republic, CNN should at least be “a quarantine for dangerously demagogic talk show hosts.” Kicking Dobbs over to Fox is the worst thing CNN has done since letting Glenn Beck jump ship last January. “Beck couldn’t do much damage” on CNN Headline News, because “hardly anybody watched” him. “You know the rest.”
“Why does Jon Klein want to hurt America?”