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Lou Dobbs on O’Reilly: “100% I’m Gonna Remain in the Public Arena” . . . as a “Semi-Regular” on the Factor, For Starters

Reported by Julie - November 17, 2009 -

O’Reilly to Lou Dobbs: “I’d like you to come back on a semi-regular basis – would you be willing to do that?”

Lou Dobbs: “Be my honor.”

And so Lou Dobbs launches his new post-CNN career – on the only network, most likely, that would have him, the one and only home of the rightwing fringe hosts, Fox News. On Monday (11/16/09) on The O’Reilly Factor, Dobbs threw spin into the “No Spin” zone . . . CNN is moving in a new direction, blah blah blah. CNN never gave him negative feedback, except, “. . . [CNN/US President] Jon Klein and I talked about the issue of opinion itself and advocacy journalism, he wanted to take the network in a different direction . . . .” Blah blah blah. The birther thing? His only offense was “to ask the question, and my question to you is, what kind of country is it when someone in the media asks a question and that becomes a controversy?” Blah blah blah.

But hey, we haven’t seen the last of Dobbs: “. . . I can guarantee you 100% I’m gonna remain in the public arena . . . What is immutable here is I’m going to remain in the public arena.”

One more thing – Dobbs doesn’t think Barack Obama is the devil. Oh, yeah – and Dobbs might also run for the New Jersey Senate. With video.

O’Reilly questioned Dobbs’ contention that CNN just wants to go in a new direction, saying, “But it doesn’t make any sense, so let’s just go back. Under the Bush Administration, and President Bush didn’t do a lot to stem illegal immigration until his last two years, so you hammered him . . . groups labeled you an anti-immigrant guy, not an anti-illegal immigrant guy, an anti-immigrant guy . . . so you were demonized by the left as a bad guy. You don’t think CNN bought into that at all?”

“I don’t, I really don’t . . . ,” Dobbs said sincerely.

“And I believe you,” O’Reilly said. “. . . They moved you up in a time slot when your numbers were good. Then the numbers leveled and went down and a new President came in -- so you’re saying as soon as the new President came in and you went after him, not only on illegal immigration but economic areas . . . they didn’t like you any more.” You bet he went after the “new President” on illegal immigration: He practically accused the new President of being an illegal immigrant himself. Does Dobbs think we don’t remember him saying on his radio show, “I'm starting to think we have a -- we have a document issue. Do you suppose he's un -- no, I won't even use the word undocumented. It wouldn't be right.”

“What I heard very directly,” Dobbs said, “Was they had decided to take CNN in a direction in which . . .” Hold up, I’ll finish the thought – in a direction which didn’t include an old windbag who hates undocumented immigrants and who blathers about birther conspiracies and gives a forum to the crazies in that arena. In fact, CNN’s President, Klein, in late July sent an e-mail which said, in part, “It seems this story is dead - because anyone who still is not convinced doesn't really have a legitimate beef.” Sounds like an edict to me.

O’Reilly contended that every show on CNN that “doesn’t have an opinion is dying . . . so they want more of the same . . . Does that make sense to you as an economic guy?”

Dobbs said modestly, “I’m just talent . . . .” Yeah, talent – except his birth certificate conspiracy and the crazy “birthers” he hosted were ridiculed by his own colleagues at CNN, who called it “’total bull’ and ‘a whack-job project,’ and have characterized those who make these claims as ‘conspiracy theorists’ who wear ‘tin foil hat[s].’”

O’Reilly clarified that Dobbs wasn’t getting criticized directly, “. . . But the perception was . . . you were just too opinionated and they didn’t want that.”

Dobbs agreed, saying, “Obviously, that’s what they didn’t want because the direction as to move toward purely a neutral presentation.”

O’Reilly finally focused on the “birthers,” saying, “Now the birther thing, I think that hurt you – you gave them voice and . . . it’s okay to give them voice, but they appeared a lot on your program.”

As an aside, Dobbs put his finger across his mouth when O’Reilly started talking about the birthers – I wonder what Tonya the body language expert would say about that?

Dobbs defended himself, saying, “Actually, no, this was about a 2-week period . . . Here’s what I said about birthers, Bill. I said birthers have a question about a birth certificate. I personally believe that Barack Obama’s a citizen of the United States. What I don’t understand is that with Army officers refusing to serve in Afghanistan, with lawsuits going forward, why not just produce the doggone birth certificate and be done with it. That was my offense, to ask the question, and my question to you is, what kind of country is it when someone in the media asks a question and that becomes a controversy?” Uh, when lawsuits get thrown out of court and the attorney bringing the lawsuits gets fined $20,000 for bringing a frivolous suit, is that still considered “going forward?” Just askin’.

I’m not sure, technically, how long Dobbs hit the birther thing, but it sure seemed like more than two weeks to me. As Media Matters reported, Dobbs was hitting the birther thing back in July, giving a forum to former presidential and Illinois senatorial candidate Alan Keyes (whose own lawsuit was dismissed in October) and crazy lady lawyer, Orly Taitz. Media Matters reported, “The Orange County Weekly described Taitz as the ‘queen bee of people obsessed with Barack Obama's birth certificate’ and the ‘the most controversial figure in the effort to prove that President Barack Obama is foreign-born.’”

Moving on – and failing to mention the dismal failure of the lawsuits filed by the birthers -- O’Reilly said, “There’s been speculation you might run for the Senate in New Jersey, is that on your mind?”

“A lot of things are on my mind, I’m not going to be coy about this,” Dobbs replied coyly.

O’Reilly acknowledged, “You’d be a legitimate contender for the Senate . . . Final question: Barack Obama, is he the devil?”

“He’s not the devil,” Dobbs said, “But he is certainly a man who is right now not making it easy to understand why he’s making the public policy choices that he is . . . What is taking so long to make a decision on Afghanistan, why it is so necessary to turn over a sixth of the economy to the US government . . . ?”

O’Reilly asked a typically leading question: “You don’t think he’s the devil but you think he’s mismanaging the country at this point.”

“. . . Absolutely,” agreed Dobbs.

Dobbs worked hard on this segment to appear sage and fair and reasonable and not bitter and not angry and not anti-CNN and, you know, it was just a friendly parting of ways with a network going in a new direction. And O’Reilly was able to be the magnanimous, successful host welcoming a near has-been – able to restrain his gloating, but still treating Dobbs like the red-headed stepchild who, if he’s very good, will have a “semi-regular” place on The Factor. And Dobbs . . . sheesh, if he’s got time on his hands, and becomes “semi regular” on Fox, he’s gonna be a Glenn-Beck-in-training and we’re gonna be seeing a lot of him.

Damn, I hope Dobbs runs for the Senate.