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August 7, 2009

What happened to Lou Dobbs?

Lloyd Grove asks on the Daily Beast: What happened to Lou Dobbs?

Just how did a respected financial-news guru turn into an immigrant-hating, birther-supporting zealot?... What a difference three decades make. In 1980, Dobbs launched his brilliant career as a whip-smart Harvard grad who practically invented television business news at the fledgling cable network CNN, founding CNNfn while winning friends and influencing people among the corporate elite...

"Lou’s a longtime friend and I admire him as a great pioneer for business and economic news, making it vital and meaningful for a new audience of television viewers,” said Paul Steiger, chief of the investigative journalism organization ProPublica and former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. “But as he’s gone beyond business news, he’s become enamored of causes, particularly fear of foreigners and immigrants, that I don’t find to be in keeping with the high intelligence that I know he possesses.”

The answer is simple, and it's all about the economics that Dobbs is supposed to know something about. Economics is about how incentives change behavior. The incentives for Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter etc. are to say outrageous things that attract a fringe, disaffected and not especially well-educated audience. The audience is a minority in the American polity, but it's large enough to support a very nice living for the screamers. Ratings, power and money are more than enough incentive to push stuffed shirts to pander to the fringe by saying things even they themselves probably have trouble believing are true or justified.

Of course in the meantime they surrender their dignity and any reason to command respect. But obviously for some folks that's just not as important.

There are plenty of intelligent, thoughtful conservative commentators who make good points in good faith. David Brooks. Greg Mankiw. Geroge Will. Bruce Bartlett, etc. Lou Dobbs is no longer in their company.

Posted by Jay Hancock at 10:56 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Media


David Brooks and Geroge Will are NOT conservatives. They bashed Sarah Palin every chance they could. They've gone over to Obama Hussein big time! You libs just don't like simple questions asked: WHY HASN'T OBAMA ANY BIRTH CERTIFICATE? It's a FACT dems fear most. We need one of our OWN KIND in the White house!!

The thing is David B. and George W. have just wised up to what is going on in this world today...

Best comment about Dobbs, from Lisa DeMoraes a few years ago in the Washington Post: "CNN has renamed Lou Dobbs Moneyline because, let's face it, it wasn't much about money some days. It's been renamed Lou Dobbs Tonight because CNN would not let him rename it I'm Lou Dobbs, Not Some Darn Islamist." It's been downhill since then.

Nice to disenfranchise a whole segment of the blogasphere who have an opposing view as uneducated. I'm neither here nor there with the "birther" issue, but as a journalist, I would think that cold hard facts would 'shut-up' the disenfranchised uneducated' that hold on to this issue. Somehow, i thought this was journalistic responsibility to uncover facts. No one complained when there was a huge controversy over George Bush's military record. Liberal spin is simple. If you don't agree with the White House you are crazy and uneducated and over the top.

I guess the refusal of liberals and moderates to talk about the embarrassment known as Keith Olbermann either means no one does watch his show or they are too ashamed to recognize his existence.

I agree with Jay I drop out of School early and never Finished but just yesterday i Was explaining this same topic To my 13 year grandson that What Lou Dobbs is doing is trying to exploit not so educated folk with his Ludacrist commentary,You Cant Stop someone from thinking that you are stupid,And you can't Make them believe that you are Intelligent Now I realize why I have not chosen CNN as one of my favorite network

Sorry Jen, Sarah Palin is not a conservative. Reagan & Goldwater were conservatives. Palin is a redneck (a white person who is stupid & proud of it).

If you think the issue of President Obama's birth certificate isn't answered, alex, your journalism degree must have be pulled from a box of cereal.

Lou Dobbs has become a birther embarrassment to both CNN and credible journalism in its entirety. He must be waiting in vain for a prime time slot at Fox News to open up.

Jay, this pretty much sums up the e-mail I sent to CNN last week. I was beginning to wonder if I really did enjoy watching Dobbs in the past. So I'm not imaging things - he wasn't always loony.

Jen - you are not smart.

There are a lot of people out there who are stupid and proud of it. And they call anyone who isn't stupid and proud of it "liberals." I'm a conservative, but if that's come to mean people who believe outrageous nonsense because they're stupid and proud of it, then I'm happy to be called a liberal. Yes, Mike, Ronald Reagan was a conservative. William Buckley was a conservative. This new crop of idiots -- Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly and yes, even Dobbs -- are a sad, growing cancer to true conservatism.

Shame on you. Lou Dobbs hates ILLEGAL immigration, not immigration. And he believes Obama is a U.S. citizen. He just wants Obama to end the controversy and release his original long-form birth certificate. Is that so hard to understand?

Wow...what is it with you liberal morons. If you are against ILLEGAL immigration, it does not make you a bigot nor an anti immigration activist. It never ceases to amaze me that when someone stands for actually following a law that the libs disagree with, they are labeled right wing, wacko or extremist.
Jay/Loyd, you guys need to open your eyes and quit marching along with the socialist agenda.

Gee, I am not a member of the religious right and have a MA but I worship Lou Dobbs!! Either there is something wrong with me or you guys are full of it!! With Dobbs reporting on the number of births in direct proportion to pollution levels, you may have to find a new catagory to put him in to try and shut him up!!!!

Lou Dobbs is the only newsperson smart and brave enough to talk for the middle class. He speaks for us Americans that are having a hard time because of so called free trade (not fair trade) and lost our jobs because our government still imports foreign workers. He is a true American Patriot.

What have you done for Americans? Except be a shill for big corporations, you should be ashamed of yourself.

I cannot believe that anyone would pay this yo-yo for this article. What a piece of trash. I always find it amusing that liberals like Jay Hancock espose the the same tired worn out arguments (paraphased) such as, "people who listen/watch conservative commentary are less well educated". Implying they are somehow less intelligent and therefore less able to see understand...blah blah. When in fact, the logic of the liberals arguments are almost always based on specious data and rely mainly on the ignorance, emotional weakness, and gulibility of their audience. Hancock you are the one who should be ashamed.

whats wrong with Lou asking for the birth certificate to be produced? Its a good question?
Why are the records sealed at all?
Why can the most powerful person on the planet not produce an original copy of the birth certificate to put this to rest?

Please excuse me for the use of the word "stupid", a condition that is usually beyond a person's control. A better word would have been "ignorant", which implies a willful disavowal of truth.

I once watched Lou Dobbs and found that he was a person who desired facts and truth, it is sad to find out he has wasted all that good will to try and boost his ratings and make a fool out of himself in the process, well Lou say goodbye to a former viewer and hello to another American who thinks you have gone off the deep end!

The only people that I am considered about, are the ones that are against Lou Dobbs. He is doing what others won't, like asking about things that could damage America and it's people.

What has happened to Lou Dobbs? I think that perhaps there is something mentally wrong with him. He is definitely not the man I watched years ago, trusted and admired.

It is extremely easy to judge who is intelligent and well educated just based on the comments.

Regardless of the person's opinion on something one can sound either well educated and intelligent, and be able to write well, or not. People who defend Palin, Dobbs, Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, etc. are obviously in the "not" camp.

But hey, like the author said, I guess there's money to be made in pandering to the illiterate, ignorant morons and if one doesn't have a conscience or any self respect why not do that?

Dobbs is a true mistake of nature. It is disgusting that CNN still keeps this racist on TV. Send him over to Fox News w/ all the other Billy Bob WASPs: that's where he belongs.

I am very upset about the changes in Lou Dobbs. I used to respect him so much and since he has returned to TV, he is a completely different person. He has become a hateful person. It is as if he is mad at the world, or perhaps has had a stroke that has changed his personality. I think he belongs on FOX news now, not on CNN. I even had him as my write-in candidate for president a few years ago, but now I won't even watch him.

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About Jay Hancock
Jay Hancock has been a financial columnist for The Baltimore Sun since 2001. He has also been The Baltimore Sun's diplomatic correspondent in Washington and its chief economics writer. Before moving to Baltimore in 1994 he worked for The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk and The Daily Press of Newport News.

His columns appear Tuesdays and Sundays.

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