CNN Quashes Watchdog Group’s Ad Campaign

CNN announced on Tuesday that it would not air ads produced by the media watchdog group, Media Matters. The group’s ads pressure CNN to direct Lou Dobbs away from further questioning the legitimacy of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

The host’s now infamous “birther conspiracy” broadcasts struck a chord with racist paranoiacs around the country when he insisted that Obama produce his original birth certificate for the sake of what Dobbs terms “transparency.”

From Overtone Magazine

Many groups have criticized Dobbs’ birther broadcasts including the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose president, Richard Cohen, stated that “Dobbs bears a degree of moral responsibility for pouring fuel, in the form of baseless accusations, on a raging fire.”

Accusations surrounding the President’s right to serve in the White House have been debunked repeatedly, even by CNN legal analyst, Jeffery Toobin. Yet when Media Matters had booked a week’s worth of ad time on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC, in an effort to pressure the news organization to reign in its host, CNN executives privately demanded that cable companies not air the ads, and cable operators immediately pulled the ads from their CNN slots.

CNN/U.S. President, Jon Klein, insisted in an interview that Lou Dobbs retain his right to continue broadcasting racially paranoid content: “I trust him, as I trust all our reporters and anchors, to exercise their judgment as various stories evolve.”

In an email to “Lou Dobbs Tonight” staffers, Klein stated that Hawaiian officials had provided sufficient evidence of Obama’s birth, and that the birther conspiracy buzz was “a dead story.”

In the interview Klein went on to defend the public’s right to disagree: “Other people may have a different point of view about that, and they’re welcome to offer it, because I don’t think as management you ever want to be closed down to discussions about editorial issues.”

Interestingly, when Media Matters attempted to express their opinion on the editorial integrity of CNN, and pay for the right to express it on CNN, the network quickly released a statement saying “”CNN retains the right to object to any ad run by the cable operator on our network whose purpose is to attack CNN or our employees.”

The Media Matters ads will still run on Fox News and MSNBC in New York, Washington D.C., and Atlanta during the Lou Dobbs timeslot.

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