Lou Dobbs Leaves CNN

Today, Lou Dobbs said that he is leaving CNN, effective immediately.  This represents a real victory for anti-racist activists, such as BastaDobbs and Presente.org, who have worked to get him removed from CNN, which we’ve discussed here and here. Here is the story from the New York Times:

Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, said Wednesday that he is leaving the cable news channel effective immediately.

Sitting before an image of an American flag on his television set, he said “some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day.”

“I’m considering a number of options and directions,” Mr. Dobbs added. A transcript of his remarks is available here.

Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/U.S. said in a statement that “Lou has now decided to carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere.”

“All of us will miss his appetite for big ideas, the megawatt smile and larger than life presence he brought to our newsroom,” Mr. Klein said.

Wednesday’s program will be Mr. Dobbs’ last on CNN. His contract was not set to expire until the end of 2011. He told viewers that CNN had agreed to release him from his contract early.

CNN indicated that it would name a replacement for Mr. Dobbs on Thursday morning.

Mr. Dobbs informed his staff members of his intentions in a meeting Wednesday afternoon, catching some of the staffers off-guard.

Well known for his political positions, Mr. Dobbs is an outlier at CNN, which has sought to position itself as a middle ground of sorts in the fractious cable news arena. The CNN employees said Wednesday that they did not know if Mr. Dobbs was moving to another network.

Of course, the possibility of the Dobbs moving to another network – such as Fox, which I mentioned recently is the highest rated news network – raises the ominous possibility that he is simply moving on to a bigger audience.

Veterans’ Day & Racism: Link Roundup

In the U.S., today is “Veterans’ Day,” a holiday intended to honor those who have fought and died in the armed services.   There are several good pieces on Veterans Day and racism floating around the Internet that I wanted to share:

  • “Black veterans: a complicated past and an unsung present.” Cliff Albright at The Examiner does a nice job of putting Veterans’ Day into context. He writes:
  • Black soldiers such as the Harlem Hellfighters and many others for centuries have done much to demonstrate Black courage and dignity. But on the other hand, Black soldiers have too often participated in wars of aggression, greed and imperialism–wars which were often aimed at other people of color. From the Buffalo Soldiers and their battles with the Native Americans to the Philippines, from Vietnam to Panama and Grenada, Black soldier have had to fight against folks that look like them for reasons that they must have known were, at best, questionable. In some cases, the irony of their predicament caused Black soldiers to show compassion for their foes, while in other cases it did not seem to make a difference. So clearly the experience of enlisted Black soldiers is part of why I’m torn about Veterans Day. But I’m also torn because of the experiences of Black veterans who weren’t actually enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces. These are veterans of a different kind of war—the FBI’s war against Black America.

    While Louis was at the apex of his career as champion he opted to serve his country. He served in the United States Army from 1942-1945. During Louis’ tenure he took some ridicule from the African American community. Every major sector of life for African Americans faced segregation. The military wasn’t exempt.  Despite the latter Louis loved his country. When asked why he entered the army Louis he issued the following: “Lots of things are wrong with America, but Hitler ain’t going to fix them.”  … Louis was a Private First Class when he entered Army but was faced with second-class treamtment. Though Louis was serving his country he was in a segregated Army. The segregation that existed in the military was merely a reflection of the institutionalized racism in society and American sports.
    Latinos in the U.S. military history have the highest number of Medals of Honor, the highest ranking medal for combat bravery in our Country, in all our wars since 1775, so we have proved our loyalty beyond a shadow of a doubt…..yet we still suffer from racism in our own backyard.

  • “The Faces of Veterans’ Day” ResistRacism has a very nice collection of historical photos of veterans from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, and observes:

    We remember that the faces of our heroes are of many colors, as is the face of our history.

Racist Cartoon Fall Out at NYPost

Sandra Guzman, a former editor at Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post who was fired for complaining about the racist cartoon, has filed suit charging the paper, and one editor in particular, with creating a hostile, racist, sexist work environment.  After the paper published a Sean Delonas cartoon depicting President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee being gunned down by white police officers, she complained internally about what she saw as the paper’s persistent and overt racism under editor Col Allan and then she was fired.

Yesterday, Guzman filed a complaint in federal court alleging systematic racism in the Post‘s hiring, firing, and editorial practices and you can the entire court document here. These are just a couple of Guzman’s allegations.   When some of them staged a protest outside his newspaper (including me), editor Col Allan laughed at them because “most of them are minorities and the majority are uneducated”:

After Guzman made her feelings public in an e-mail stating that she had raised her objections to the cartoon to management she was punished in various ways that hurt both Guzman professionally and hurt the paper in terms of potential ‘scoops.’  When Guzman asked Allan for permission to cover the Sotomayor story – and get an exclusive interview with the Supreme Court Justice – Allan sent a one-word email “No.”  There’s much more, so do read the complaint in its entirety.   For its part, the Post has released a statement responding to the complaint:

This lawsuit has no merit and is based on charges that are groundless. As previously stated, Ms. Guzman’s position was eliminated when the section she edited was discontinued due to a decline in advertising sales.

Of course, the racism and sexism behind-the-scenes at the Post are no surprise for those who read here regularly and/or have seen the racist and sexist content at the paper over the years, including the racist cartoon from February this year.  Happily for those who want to stand against such bile, the mood at the Post is reportedly “sober” due to declining circulation rates (down 30%).   Unfortunately, the possible demise of the Post does nothing to another Rupert Murdoch news outlet which regularly spews racist bile – the very popular Fox News, which continues to draw more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined. And, in a move that can only be called a stroke of genius (/sarcasm alert/) Rupert Murdoch has recently announced that he intends to remove all of his newspapers from The Google, because they’re stealing his content.  Yes, brilliant idea.  Please do.