As dramatic as Lou Dobbs’ immediate resignation was on CNN last night, the whole story of the deteriorated Dobbs/CNN relationship is starting to emerge today. Dobbs was told by CNN to do an objective newscast, or he could leave CNN. In short Dobbs could either clean up his act or hit the road. He chose to leave.
Here is the video of Dobbs’ resignation:
Last night Dobbs made it sound like he was leaving on his own terms, but The New York Times is reporting the real story, “Months ago the president of CNN/U.S., Jonathan Klein, offered a choice to Lou Dobbs, the channel’s most outspoken anchor. Mr. Dobbs could vent his opinions on radio and anchor an objective newscast on television, or he could leave CNN.”
If Dobbs stayed, and didn’t tone it down, he was probably going to get fired. At best the network would stick with him until his contract expired in 2011, and then dump him. The biggest reason why the network wanted rid of Dobbs is that they have shifted to more objective news based programming. Dobbs has been moving the opposite direction. His program became nothing but a forum for his opinions.
The other reason is that Dobbs’ shift to the right put his ratings in the tank. Dobbs’ show had fallen to third in its timeslot, and has lost 30%-40% of its viewers. The truth is that if Dobbs’ ratings were strong, CNN would have kept him on the air. The pressure from liberal media advocates didn’t bring down Dobbs. Bad ratings brought down Dobbs.
Lou Dobbs has been openly auditioning for Fox News for months now. He met with Roger Ailes last month. There had been speculation before Dobbs resigned that he was heading to Fox Business, which is where I think he will end up once his non-compete clause expires.
The real winner here is CNN, because they got rid of their number one publicity headache, while upgrading Dobbs’ time slot. Dobbs will still be ranting on the radio, and he will probably be sent to cable’s version of Siberia, Fox Business Channel.