|Born||Louis Carl Dobbs
September 24, 1945
Childress, Texas, U.S.
|Occupation||Talk radio host
Current Fox Business Network News Anchor
Former CNN News Anchor
Former Managing editor
|Notable credit(s)||Lou Dobbs Tonight|
|Spouse(s)||Debi Lee Roth-Segura|
Louis Carl "Lou" Dobbs (born September 24, 1945) is an American television personality and radio host on the Fox Business Network, and author. He anchored CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight until November 2009 when he announced on the air that he would leave the network.
He was born in Texas and lived there and in Idaho during his childhood. After graduating from Harvard University, Dobbs worked in government and banking before becoming a news reporter for several local media outlets. He had worked with CNN since its founding in 1980, serving as a reporter and vice president. He was the host and managing editor for CNN's Moneyline, which premiered in 1980 and was renamed Lou Dobbs Tonight in 2003. Dobbs resigned from CNN in 1999, rejoined in 2000, and resigned again in November 2009. He also hosts a syndicated radio show, Lou Dobbs Radio and has written several books since 2001.
Dobbs describes himself as an "independent populist" and is known for his opposition to NAFTA and support for immigration enforcement. For his reporting, he has won Emmy, Peabody, and Cable ACE awards.
After Dobbs left CNN in 2009, he gave an interview where he did not rule out the possibility of running for President of the United States in 2012, saying the final decision would rest with his wife, although former Senator Dean Barkley has encouraged Dobbs to run.
Background and family life
Born in Childress County, Texas, Dobbs is the son of Frank Dobbs, a co-owner of a propane business, and Lydia Mae (née Hensley), a bookkeeper. When Dobbs was 12, his father's propane business failed and the family moved to Rupert, Idaho. He attended Minico High School in Minidoka County, where he played tackle on the football team, played the sousaphone in the band, and served as student body president. Although accepted at the University of Idaho and Idaho State University, he was persuaded by the staff at Minico High to apply to Harvard University, where he was accepted and later graduated from with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1967.
After graduating, Dobbs worked for federal anti-poverty programs in Boston and Washington, D.C., then returned to Idaho. He briefly attended law school at the UI College of Law in Moscow, then worked as a cash-management specialist for Union Bank of California in Los Angeles. He married his high school sweetheart in 1969, and in 1970 their first son was born. Dobbs moved to Yuma, Arizona, and got a job as a police and fire reporter for KBLU. By the mid-1970s he was a television anchor and reporter in Phoenix, and he later joined Seattle's KING-TV. In 1979, he was contacted by a recruiter for Ted Turner, who was in the process of forming CNN. Dobbs divorced his first wife in 1981 and is now married to Debi Lee Segura, a Mexican-American and former CNN sports anchor. The couple has had four children together. Dobbs resides on a 300-acre (1.2 km2) horse farm in Wantage Township, New Jersey.
Dobbs joined CNN when it launched in 1980, serving as its chief economics correspondent and as host of the business news program Moneyline on CNN. Dobbs also served as a corporate executive for CNN, as its executive vice president and as a member of CNN's executive committee. He founded CNN fn (CNN financial news), serving as its president and anchoring the program Business Unusual, which examined business creativity and leadership.
Departure and founding of Space.com
Dobbs repeatedly clashed with Rick Kaplan, who became president of CNN in 1997. Dobbs said Kaplan, noted friend of then president Bill Clinton, was "clearly partisan" and "was pushing Clinton stories," while Kaplan said Dobbs was "a very difficult person to work with."
On April 20, 1999, CNN was covering Clinton's speech in Littleton, Colorado, following the Columbine High School massacre. Dobbs ordered the producer to cut away from the speech and return to broadcast Moneyline. Dobbs was countermanded by Kaplan, who ordered CNN to return to the speech. Kaplan later said, "Tell me what journalistic reason there was not to cover the president at Columbine soon after the shootings? Everyone else was doing it." Dobbs announced on the air that "CNN President Rick Kaplan wants us to return to Littleton." A few days later, Dobbs announced that he was leaving the network to start Space.com, a website devoted to astronautical news. Dobbs was subsequently replaced as host of Moneyline by Willow Bay and Stuart Varney.
Return to CNN
Kaplan left CNN in August 2000, and Dobbs returned the following year, at the behest of his friend and CNN founder Ted Turner, becoming host and managing editor of the new and initially more general news program Lou Dobbs Reporting, which later became CNN News Sunday Morning. He also regained the helm of the newly renamed Lou Dobbs Moneyline (which became Lou Dobbs Tonight in June 2003).
Exit from CNN
On the November 11, 2009 edition of his nightly broadcast Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs announced his immediate departure from CNN, ending a nearly thirty year career at the network, citing plans to "pursue new opportunities." CNN President Jon Klein said that Dobbs' departure was not a result of organized opposition to Dobbs' viewpoints.
In July 2009, controversy around Dobbs began when he was the only mainstream news anchor to give airtime to the birther conspiracy theory. Several liberal advocacy groups, including Media Matters, and the Southern Poverty Law Center criticized Dobbs for his reporting. The controversy eventually caused CNN President Jon Klein to rein Dobbs in via an internal memorandum. In September, advocates challenged Dobbs for appearing at a FAIR conference (Federation for American Immigration Reform), a leading anti-illegal immigration group. Multiple campaigns were launched, including Drop Dobbs (NDN, Media Matters), and Basta Dobbs (Presente.org).
The campaigns also attacked CNN for alleged hypocrisy towards Latinos, citing CNN's "Latino in America" special as incompatible with their continued support of Dobbs. The campaigns generated considerable anti-Dobbs press, and are credited by some[who?] as pushing Dobbs out.
Dobbs was reportedly paid $8 million in severance pay when he left CNN prior to his contract being due for renewal.
From 2009 to 2012, Dobbs hosted Lou Dobbs Radio on United Stations Radio Networks. The three hour daily show had affiliates in several major markets, including its flagship station (WOR) in New York City, Washington D.C. (WHFS), Miami (WZAB-AM) and the San Francisco Bay Area (KDOW), as well as stations such as WGNY-AM in Newburgh, New York. The show was guest-centered and featured political discussion and listener calls. It aired from 2 to 5 p.m. Eastern, directly competing with The Sean Hannity Show, The Tom Sullivan Show and The Dave Ramsey Show. Dobbs also hosts the financially themed Lou Dobbs Minute on the same network.
In June 2008, Dobbs reached an agreement with Business TalkRadio Network to carry a rebroadcast of the show from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern, displacing Bruce Williams. Dobbs's show is also carried live on CRN Digital Talk Radio Networks, on CRN4.
Dobbs was among the hosts who tried out for the position vacated by the cancellation of Imus in the Morning on WFAN, a position that was eventually filled by Boomer and Carton in the Morning. Dobbs mentioned on his radio show that he is currently seeking a position in the US Department of Treasury during the economic crisis. He stated that he believed he could "do more good than the clowns currently in position."
Current show on Fox Business Network
On November 10, 2010, Fox Business Network announced that Dobbs will host a show on the channel. The network announced on March 3, 2011 the start date, show title, and time slot of Dobbs' new show. The show is titled Lou Dobbs Tonight and began on March 14, 2011, airing at 7 PM Eastern. That is the same title and time slot that Dobbs' old CNN show had.
Since 2009, Dobbs has made regular appearances to discuss issues on other news network programs including CNBC's The Kudlow Report and Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor. On October 5, 2010, Dobbs made a guest appearance on an episode of The Good Wife, entitled "Double Jeopardy", in which he plays himself as a client in search of a new law firm to represent his legal interests.
In his early career Dobbs was known as a fiscal conservative. He is a critic of the "excesses of capitalism," which he identifies as globalization, offshore outsourcing, runaway film production (the outsourcing of Hollywood jobs), illegal immigration, free trade deals, corporate/big business influence in government and the Bush administration's tax cuts. He describes himself as an advocate of economic populism, warning that outsourcing and the U.S. trade and budget deficits threaten the American middle class. Dobbs tends to oppose long-run trade deficits and outsourcing for the sake of labor arbitrage to obtain cheap labor.
In the 2000s, Dobbs has used CNN programs and columns to express his personal views on several subjects. He has become particularly noted for two positions: Dobbs is a critic of American immigration policy and expanded international trade. He is particularly wary of outsourcing and off-shoring, especially with China. He was a known political figure in New Jersey, with a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll finding that he had a 70% name recognition among New Jersey voters in January 2010. Among these voters, 22% had a favorable view of Dobbs while 22% had an unfavorable view.
Illegal immigration and border security
Dobbs has been strongly opposed to both illegal immigration and such labor-outsourcing and foreign worker programs as the H-1B visa program and guest-worker programs. He has been a critic of the Mexican government's poverty programs, and of church leaders in Mexico for not criticizing the Mexican government's policies on border security and illegal immigration.
Lou Dobbs Tonight frequently featured themes of "Exporting America," "Broken Borders," and "War on the Middle Class". The newscast often described illegal immigration as an "invasion." Dobbs dismissed concerns about his rhetoric as "political correctness" in the segment billboarded "P.C. Nation".
In his "Broken Borders" segments, Dobbs focused primarily on the southern border with Mexico and the drugs and the people who cross it. Dobbs has lauded the Canadian government for cooperation in securing the border with their American counterparts.
In an interview with Lesley Stahl, Dobbs spoke about his meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, saying they implied that he was anti-Hispanic by asking him, "if [he had] ever eaten a taco before, for God's sake". Representative Joe Baca, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, later wrote to CBS insisting that the group did not meet with Dobbs to discuss whether he'd eaten Hispanic food, "but to respectfully recommend that he cease the negative portrayal of Hispanics...and treat the issue of immigration in a responsible manner."
Some of the reporting on the show has been criticized including a claim that illegal aliens were responsible for bringing 7,000 new cases of leprosy to the United States in a three-year period, but the actual timeframe was over the last thirty years, according to James L. Krahenbuhl, the director of the National Hansen’s Disease Program.
Dobbs has criticized local officials for their approach to border security. In October 2007 he labeled then New York Governor Eliot Spitzer an "idiot" for advocating the issuance of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Hillary Clinton labeled Dobbs' illegal immigration segments as having "all that hot air."
At about 10:30 a.m. on October 5, 2009, a bullet struck Dobbs's home as Dobbs and his wife stood outside it. The bullet struck the vinyl siding of their attic without penetrating the vinyl and fell to the ground. Dobbs attributed the incident to his stance against amnesty for illegal immigrants. The New Jersey State Police troopers' account of the incident attributed to a stray bullet from a hunter in the vicinity.
Lou Dobbs was a registered Republican. Though he made a donation of $1,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign in January 2001, he often has described the Bush administration and the then Republican-controlled Congress as "disgraceful." He has also argued that both parties are controlled by corporate interests. Dobbs faulted Bush's 2004 presidential election opponent, Democrat John Kerry, for first criticizing outsourcing and then backing off.
Lou Dobbs is pro-choice, opposes gun control and, though he is a fiscal conservative, supports some government regulations, as revealed in a 60 Minutes interview. He has been critical of trade policies that he says encourage "sending jobs overseas".
Dobbs' stance on trade has earned plaudits from some trade union activists on the traditional political left, while his stance on immigration tends to appeal to the right. In an interview with Larry King, Dobbs revealed that he is now "an unaffiliated independent" owing to dissatisfaction with both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Dobbs has been consistently supportive of LGBT rights in the United States. In June 2006, as the U.S. Senate debated the Federal Marriage Amendment, Dobbs was critical of the action. He asserted that marriage was threatened more by financial crises perpetuated by Bush administration economic policy than by same-sex marriage.
Dobbs is the author of War on the Middle Class, in which he claims that both Democrats and Republicans are harming the middle class. In it, he comes out strongly against the Bush tax cuts, which he argues favor the wealthy, and argued for raising the U.S. minimum wage from what was then $5.15 an hour.
Dobbs criticized the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 begun by President George W. Bush and later continued by President Barack Obama. He called it originally a "Wall Street bailout", a term which became common. Dobbs described the program as the way for U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to help corporate interests instead of helping average Americans. He expresses many of his views in the documentary Generation Zero.
Dobbs' critics, including columnist James K. Glassman, author of Dow 36,000 and member of the American Enterprise Institute think tank, have accused him of inciting xenophobia. Others have accused him of Hispanophobia, a charge he denies and one which he has said offends him deeply, as his wife Debi Segura is a Mexican-American.
Dobbs has also been criticized for his journalistic ethics by liberal news journalist Amy Goodman. She accused him of flagrant errors in his reporting and his staff's association with disreputable sources, complaining that "he has a special responsibility to rely on facts and to correct misstatements of fact." According to her, he entered the undocumented immigration debate "invoking populist rhetoric and championing the cause of the middle class", a stance opposed by her Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez.
A CNN report, filed by Christine Romans for Dobbs's April 14, 2005 program, reported on the carrying of diseases across the border by illegal immigrants. Romans' report cited an article in the spring 2005 issue of the non-indexed Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, written by Madeleine Cosman, which made the statement that 7,000 cases of leprosy had emerged in the United States within the previous three years (2002–2005), an increase attributed mostly to an influx of immigrants into the country. Critics of the program argued that, in fact, the actual number of leprosy cases had reached 7,000 in the registry over 30 years, not the previous three years, with 137 cases reported in 2006. In addressing the leprosy issue, Dobbs in May 2007 compared his critics from the left and right political spectrums to "commies" and "fascists." On December 4, 2007, Dobbs rejected Cosman's claims as unsubstantiated, calling her "a wackjob".
On the May 23, 2006 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs's program displayed a map of Aztlán sourced to the controversial Council of Conservative Citizens. CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson apologized for the graphic's use, saying: "A freelance field producer in Los Angeles searched the web for Aztlan maps and grabbed the Council of Conservative Citizens map without knowing the nature of the organization. The graphic was a late inclusion in the script and, regrettably, was missed in the vetting process." In March 2009, Dobbs thought that there shouldn't be a St. Patricks Day In mid-2009, Dobbs was criticized by some in the media for invoking "conspiracy theories" by questioning the constitutionality of Barack Obama's presidency due to his supposedly ambiguous citizenship. His willingness to raise the "birther" issue repeatedly even though CNN itself considered it a "discredited rumor", led the Washington Post's TV critic to remark that this "explains their upcoming documentary: 'The World: Flat. We Report -- You Decide.'" The issue had come up in 2008 during the Presidential campaign, and had largely disappeared from the media spotlight until Dobbs picked up the issue again. His statements in support of these investigations were dubbed "racist" and "defamatory" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The controversy led to Media Matters airing ads critical of Dobbs and of CNN, and to Jon Stewart mocking Dobbs on the satirical The Daily Show. The New York Times said that Dobbs had "become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network's 'no bias' brand." As a result, he became a frequent target of MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann's Worst person in the World.
Shortly afterwards, Dobbs announced that he would broadcast two episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight from the "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" conference in Washington, D.C., organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an anti-illegal immigration advocacy group. Media Matters also criticized this move, citing FAIR founder John Tanton's history of making racist remarks and supporting white supremacist organizations. Media Matters president Eric Burns issued an open letter to CNN vice president Jonathan Klein, asking that the network take action against Dobbs. "Mr. Dobbs represents an ongoing threat to CNN's credibility as a serious news organization, in no small part because of his polemical coverage of immigration issues and his continued use of his CNN show to lend prominence to groups such as FAIR", wrote Burns. "The attention and legitimacy he gave to the 'birther' movement — and CNN's condoning of his actions — did real damage to that credibility. His participation in the upcoming FAIR rally would do further, serious damage. We urge you to finally acknowledge that Mr. Dobbs' actions in this and other contexts are inconsistent with the reputation that CNN strives to maintain."
In October 2010, The Nation published the results of a yearlong investigation detailing undocumented workers who had worked on Dobbs' personal properties. The labor involved upkeep of Dobbs' multimillion-dollar estates in New Jersey and Florida, including the horses belonging to his daughter, Hillary, a champion show jumper. The article featured interviews with five immigrants who had worked without papers on Dobbs' properties. Dobbs and his daughter had declined to comment to The Nation as part of the story. Speaking to the Associated Press, Dobbs referred to the article as "a political assault," claiming it's a lie that he hired illegal immigrants. He said: "I have never, do not now, and never will."
Dobbs has won numerous major awards for his television journalism, most notably a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award and a Cable Ace Award. He received the George Foster Peabody Award for his coverage of the 1987 stock market crash. He also has received the Luminary Award of the Business Journalism Review in 1990, the Horatio Alger Association Award for Distinguished Americans in 1999 and the National Space Club Media Award in 2000. The Wall Street Journal has named Dobbs "TV's Premier Business News Anchorman". In 2004, Dobbs was awarded the Eugene Katz Award For Excellence in the Coverage of Immigration by the Center for Immigration Studies and in 2005 he received the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution's Statesmanship Award. Dobbs was named "Father of the Year" by the National Father's Day Committee in 1993.
- Lou Dobbs, Independents Day: Awakening The American Spirit (2007). ISBN 978-0-670-01836-9.
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- Lou Dobbs, Space: The Next Business Frontier with HP Newquist (2001). ISBN 0-7434-2389-5
- Lou Dobbs, War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War on the American Dream and How to Fight Back (2006). ISBN 0-670-03792-3.
- Ron Hira and Anil Hira, with foreword by Lou Dobbs, Outsourcing America: What's behind Our National Crisis and how we can reclaim American Jobs. (AMACOM), American Management Association, (May 2005). ISBN 0-8144-0868-0.
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