MSNBC president on Lou Dobbs' 'birther' coverage:
“It’s racist,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. “It’s racist. Just call it for what it is.”From Brian Selzter via the NY Times Decoder:
Now, after first emailing Dobbs to end the coverage, CNN Pres says the coverage is legitimate?
The conspiracy theorists who have claimed for more than a year that President Obama is not a United States citizen have found receptive ears among some mainstream media figures in recent weeks.
Despite ample evidence to the contrary, the country’s most popular talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, told his listeners Tuesday that Mr. Obama “has yet to have to prove that he’s a citizen.” Lou Dobbs of CNN said that Mr. Obama should do more to dispel the claims. Larry King, also of CNN, asked guests about it, and other media types, including the MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow, merrily mocked the controversy. NBC News even did a segment on the subject.[snip]
“This smear was thoroughly debunked during the election,” said Eric Burns, the president of Media Matters for America, a liberal media monitoring organization.
Remarkably, there is even a reference to Mr. Obama’s birth in the “Births, Marriages, Deaths” column of The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper on Aug. 13, 1961. Still, the claims about Mr. Obama’s citizenship persist among a small but vocal group, essentially portraying Mr. Obama as a foreigner who has managed to conceal his origins for nearly five decades.
“It’s racist,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. “It’s racist. Just call it for what it is."
A lot of journalists “live with this issue; we get e-mails, we get asked about it,” Brian Williams, the anchor of the “NBC Nightly News,” said on Wednesday’s broadcast.
He showed an excerpt from the YouTube video in a segment about the birthers that he said were “spreading lies” about Mr. Obama.
“So many conspiracy theories, so little time,” he concluded.read more...
From Media Matters: Dobbs 2, CNN 0: CNN Pres. Klein Calls Birther Coverage "Legitimate"
From a July 25 Los Angeles Times article:
CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein told staffers of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on Thursday that the controversy regarding the legitimacy of President Obama's birth certificate -- a topic Dobbs has avidly pursued on the air -- is a "dead" story."Certainly if there are future news pegs, then we have to take that story as it comes," he added.
But in an interview, the cable news chief left open the possibility that Dobbs may continue to raise questions about why the president has not produced a long-form birth certificate. The absence of such a record has spawned rumors that Obama was not born in the United States, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.
"He's got more than 30 years as a television journalist, and I trust him, as I trust all our reporters and anchors, to exercise their judgment as various stories evolve," Klein said of Dobbs, whose daily CNN program is a mix of news and opinion.
Also from Media Matters: Captain Lou And The Birther Brigade:
Apparently contradicting a statement he reportedly made the day before pronouncing the birther story seemingly "dead," CNN president Jonathan Klein has reportedly said that CNN would allow Lou Dobbs to continue airing conspiracy theories about President Obama's birth certificate.read more....
Leave it to Lou Dobbs: If there's a right-wing conspiracy theory out there floating around on the Internets, he'll latch onto it like a pit bull. He may be past his prime, but he just won't let go. It must be tough for CNN to look on while Dobbs discredits "the most trusted name in news," one wild claim at a time. If there's a hook to the conspiracy even tacitly involving the immigration issue, well, you've just made Dobbs' day.
How can we forget his preoccupation with conspiracy theories about purported government plans for a "North American Union" between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada? Or his promotion of the nutty conspiracy that Mexicans plan to reconquer the American Southwest?
Over the past two weeks, however, Dobbs took things even further, pushing one of the most ludicrous conspiracy theories of the right-wing fringe: the notion that the authenticity of President Obama's birth certificate is in doubt.
During coverage of this nonsense on MSNBC yesterday, David Shuster wanted to know, "Why is it so difficult for Liz Cheney and other prominent Republicans to say this is garbage?"
From the July 23rd edition of MSNBC's Countdown: