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[Updated] Lou Dobbs resigns from CNN

November 11, 2009 |  4:52 pm

CNN host Lou Dobbs resigned from the network today, saying that he has been urged by political and business leaders to leave his television platform to “engage in constructive problem-solving” on national issues. He said today's show was his last.

“Over the past six months, it’s become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country and affecting all of us,” Dobbs said, adding that he’s considering pursuing a number of options.

“As for the important work of restoring inspiration to our great free society and our market economy, I will strive to be a leader in that national conversation,” he said.

Dobbs’ break with CNN comes after he worked at the network for more than a quarter century, starting with its inception in 1980, often clashing with network executives in the process. While he originally led the network’s business coverage, in recent years Dobbs developed a populist persona that has increasingly been out of step with the network’s emphasis on neutral reporting. He has railed about the country’s immigration policy and used his show to raise questions about the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate. 

Several months ago, CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein discussed with Dobbs tamping down the opinion on his show, something he agreed to do. But his presence on CNN continued to be a source of friction within the network. Liberal groups have been calling for CNN to let him go and on Wednesday celebrated his resignation.

“Our contention all along was that Lou Dobbs – who has a long record of spreading lies and conspiracy theories about immigrants and Latinos – does not belong on the ‘most trusted name in news,’ ” said Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org, a national online advocacy organization coordinating BastaDobbs.com, a Latino-led coalition. “We are thrilled that Dobbs no longer has this legitimate platform from which to incite fear and hate.”

[Updated]: CNN President Jon Klein issued the following statement today: "Lou Dobbs is a valued founding member of the CNN family. For decades, Lou fearlessly and tirelessly pursued some of the most important and complex stories of our time, often well ahead of the pack. All of us will miss his appetite for big ideas, the megawatt smile and larger than life presence he brought to our newsroom, and we're grateful to have known and worked with him over the years. With characteristic forthrightness, Lou has now decided to carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere. We respect his decision and wish him, Debi, and his family the very best."

— Matea Gold

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