Longtime anchor Lou Dobbs leaving CNN
Wednesday show to be his last; future plans unclear
Image: Lou Dobbs
By Brian Stelter and Bill Carter
updated 2 hours, 26 minutes ago
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.
“Some leaders in the media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond my role here at CNN and engage in constructive problem-solving,” Mr. Dobbs said just after 7 p.m., suggesting that he would remain involved in the civic discourse, but perhaps not on television.
“I’m considering a number of options and directions,” Mr. Dobbs added.
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Wednesday’s program will be his last on CNN, one of his employees said earlier in the evening.
Mr. Dobbs’ 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.
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.
Mr. Dobbs met with Roger Ailes, the chairman of the Fox News Channel, in September. At the time Mr. Dobbs was viewed as a potential hire for the Fox Business Network. But a Fox spokesperson said Wednesday, “We have not had any discussions with Lou Dobbs for Fox News or Fox Business.”
Mr. Dobbs has been with CNN since its founding, save for a two-year stint at a Web site called Space.com. He has evolved over the years from a straight-laced business anchor to an outspoken commentator who rails against illegal immigration and taxpayer bailouts, among other subjects.
Lately, though, he has saved most of his opinions for his afternoon radio show, which made its debut in March 2008. It is on the radio show that he talked repeatedly about the conspiracy theory claims that President Obama is not a United States citizen. When he mentioned the citizenship issue on CNN over the summer, his bosses were forced to call it a “dead issue.”
More recently, Mr. Dobbs’ views on immigration provoked a protest by Hispanic groups. Members of the groups complained that CNN was allowing Mr. Dobbs “to spread lies and misinformation about us each night.”
Last month the New Jersey State Police were called to Mr. Dobbs home to investigate a report of gunfire. Mr. Dobbs suggested that his family had been singled out because of his views on illegal immigration and border security.
This article, “Lou Dobbs to quit CNN,” first appeared in The New York Times.
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