CNN responds to Dobbs’ embrace of birtherism

The network is distancing itself from its host

Topics: Birthers, CNN, War Room, Lou Dobbs,

Recently, CNN’s Lou Dobbs has taken to his network’s air to discuss a conspiracy theory about President Obama’s birth. The theory’s adherents — termed “birthers” — claim Obama was not born in the U.S. and is, as such, not eligible to be president. But that theory is simply not true, and CNN reporters and hosts besides Dobbs (including Kitty Pilgrim, when she guest hosted Dobbs’ show) have repeatedly debunked it.

So how’s CNN handling it’s falling star’s latest turn to conspiracism? For the most part, by distancing itself. The network has been quick to point out to media reporters that Dobbs’ more egregious statements have come on his radio show, which is not affiliated with CNN.

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Salon asked a network spokeswoman whether it’s CNN’s position that there is a question about Obama’s eligibility to be president. “No, CNN has fully investigated the issue and found no basis for the questions about the president’s birthplace,” she responded.

Asked, then, why the network would continue to allow Dobbs to present the birthers’ theories on air, the spokeswoman pointed to an earlier statement, which reads, “On CNN, Lou is an independent reporter who covers stories that people are talking about, and often showcases issues that aren’t being covered by the mainstream media.”

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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