Dobbs Was Forced Out Say Sources, CNN Insiders
Huge severance package was part of deal offered by higher ups who “wanted him out”
Monday, Nov 16, 2009
Sources close to Lou Dobbs and Insiders at CNN have indicated that the legendary anchorman was forced to resign from the network because his coverage was not “middle of the road” or “opinion-free” enough for the network.
According to comments by Robert Dilenschneider, a spokesman for the anchorman, CNN was so determined to remove Dobbs, it gave him an $8 million severance package to leave.
CNN boss Jonathan Klein was unhappy with Dobbs’ coverage regarding illegal immigration, according to Dilenschneider. The Network head believed Dobbs was at odds with CNN’s mandate to occupy the middle ground between Fox News and MSNBC.
The severance package was negotiated after it became clear that the feud between Klein and Dobbs could not be resolved without Dobbs’ exit.
Dobbs had eighteen months left to run on a $12 million contract.
“They wanted him out,” Dilenschneider told The New York Post
. “The end came quickly once the exit package had been negotiated.”
Another CNN insider, Chris Plante, claimed that left leaning bias was to blame for Dobbs’ exit.
“His opinions are out of lockstep with the rest of the mainstream news media,” Plante, a seventeen year CNN correspondent, told Howard Kurtz on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” program.
Plante described Dobbs, as “the last conservative voice on the channel,” and added that the higher ups felt he no longer fit in and had to go.
Plante added that CNN hosts Campbell Brown, Anderson Cooper, and Larry King are not “completely neutral,” prompting Kurtz to ask, “Are you suggesting that those hosts lean to the left?”
“Yes, I am” Plante responded.
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It is well known that left leaning groups such as Media Matters, MoveOn.org, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have consistently agitated to have Dobbs removed.
Dobbs was also the target of intense criticism from Presente, the National Council of La Raza, and other pro-illegal immigration groups that petitioned for him to be taken off the air. Dobbs has suggested that he is keen to meet and debate with such groups now his schedule is open.
Just days before he announced his resignation, gunfire was directed at Dobbs’ home
, with his wife just a few feet away from the shots. The incident followed a series of threatening phone calls.
Dobbs himself has described his departure from CNN as “amicable”
“I don’t know if people will believe it, but we had a very amicable parting on the best of terms.” Dobbs stated in an interview over the weekend.
“I spent 29 years there building that company, and I wish everyone there nothing but the best, and they have reciprocated with me.” Dobbs added.
On his radio show he went into further detail over the departure form CNN:
“What they do is their business and I tried to accommodate them as best I could, but I’ve said for many years now that neutrality is not part of my being,” Dobbs said. “I have strong views about a lot of issues that are important to the country and I think are important to my audience.”
Speculation continues to mount that Dobbs may take a job at another network, but the anchor said it will be “weeks, probably months” before he decides where his future lies.
He has also indicated that running for public office may be an option.
“I’ve aligned myself with no group, no organization,” Dobbs commented on his radio show. “I am truly an independent. I carry no one’s water. I’m aligned with no interest group, no organized political party, nor do I intend to be. I relish being an independent and having my freedom.”