Last night, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs abruptly announced that he was leaving the network, effective immediately. TPM notes that in the weeks preceding his departure, Dobbs told GQ that the White House had been conspiring with a number of groups, including ThinkProgress, to wage “insidious and sordid attacks” against him with the goal of intimidating him and his former network:
GQ: That was my next question. Have you heard from the administration?
LD: Of course I have. Sure. Without question. They are coordinating with a number of groups, including the Center for American Progress. The usual suspects. To carry out constant and absolutely insidious and sordid attacks on me. And the reason they’re doing so, I’m the leading independent voice, and I am critical on their policies and intent, on unconditional amnesty, and leaving the borders and ports unsecure. They cannot, they’re. . .
GQ: They’re afraid of that point of view? They don’t think their point of view will carry against…
LD: Apparently not. Otherwise why would you do such a thing? But I will not be intimidated, and I understand that. Therefore they’re trying to intimidate my network and my owners.
For the record, neither ThinkProgress nor its parent organization, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, collaborated with the White House on our Dobbs coverage. However, Dobbs’ paranoid remarks did come around the same time ThinkProgress began promoting the efforts of progressive activists who were leading the Drop Dobbs, Tell CNN Enough Is Enough, and Basta Dobbs campaigns aimed at pressuring CNN to hold Dobbs to journalistic standards.
ThinkProgress has always focused on media accountability. Throughout the years, Dobbs has repeatedly left himself wide-open to legitimate criticism, not baseless attacks. Some recent examples:
— This summer, ThinkProgress reported that Dobbs had joined the birther movement and claimed President Obama might be an undocumented immigrant.
— The Wonk Room reported that the Lou Dobbs Show was promoting the myth that “people who break immigration laws” will be “rewarded” with free health care coverage.
— Shortly after we noted that Fox News’ John Stossel and Glenn Beck openly criticized Dobbs’ anti-immigrant “rants,” Dobbs proceeded to rip Stossel as a “self-important ass” with his “own brand of myopic idiocy.”
— ThinkProgress documented Dobbs slamming the “vile stupidity and ignorance” of “annoying” Geraldo Rivera, who had also denounced Dobbs’ immigration tirades.
— Most recently, Dobbs claimed that “ethnocentric interest groups” and Rivera himself were to blame for gun shots fired at his house. ThinkProgress called up the New Jersey State Police and broke the news that the shooting more likely involved a hunter’s stray bullet.
The efforts to get Dobbs off the air were not one-sided. Scott Stanzel, who used to work in President Bush’s communications shop, applauded the decision today in a statement to Politico: “I will not miss Lou Dobbs, his show or his ‘advocacy journalism.’ In recent years, the blurring of the lines between opinion and news reporting has damaged the credibility of mainstream reporters and news organizations. It’s refreshing to see CNN make a decision to fill the Dobbs slot with a respected and accomplished hard news journalist like John King. Maybe there is hope for the news business after all.”