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.