The controversy surrounding CNN host Lou Dobbs’ discussion of the current “birther” theory — that President Obama has no documented U.S. birth certificate and is his presidency is illegitimate — has not increased his ratings. What it has done is vastly increased the media attention towards the CNN host — and not much of it has been positive. So much for CNN president Jon Klein saying that this “story was dead.”
In fact seems that this story has kept Dobbs in the press more in the last week than the last year combined – but is all press good press in the eyes of CNN or Jon Klein? Yesterday Mediaite revealed an email exchange between Fox News producers and Dobbs’ staff members attempting to arrange a Dobbs appearance on the O’Reilly Factor. Some surmised that it was vetoed by CNN in an effort to keep the story from growing any bigger.
The negative attention will no doubt continue next Tuesday now that Media Matters has announced plans to run ads critical of Dobbs on MSNBC, Fox News and CNN — specifically during Dobb’s 7PM time slot. By buying airtime in that slot, Dobbs and CNN were forced to make a decision: accepting the ad promotes the growing criticism of Dobbs, while declining them fosters the festering controversy.
Dobbs responded to the ads on his radio show by labeling Media Matters the “Swift Boat of the left” and “really extraordinary.” He also mentioned that he has no plans to put a stop to the ad running: “So it’ll be interesting to see what Media Matters runs. That sounds like a fascinating ad.”
The silver lining for CNN? At least they have another advertiser.
Media Matters has released the ad:
Dobbs responds to the Media Matters ad:
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