Jacob Grier, staff writer
January 9, 2004
NEW YORK -- In a surprising move, CNN announced yesterday that it is laying off long time anchor Lou Dobbs, host of the network's hit economic news program Lou Dobbs Tonight. CNN cited rising production costs and the availability of overseas broadcasters willing to work for less as reasons for the layoff.
Dobbs, whose recent features have included titles such as "Exporting America" and "Broken Borders," does not find the irony amusing. Responding to his termination tonight on his final show, Dobbs said that he regretted waiting so long to cover the exportation of American jobs. Paraphrasing Pastor Martin Niemoller, he said, "First they came for the loggers, and I did not speak out because I was not a logger. Then they came for the manufacturers, and I did not speak out because I was not a manufacturer. Then they came for the computer programmers, and I did not speak out because I was not a programmer. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me."
"You, my friends, must carry on the fight," Dobbs continued. "And that's our show. Tune in tomorrow for the premiere of Lokesh Narayan Tonight. For all of us here, thanks for being with us. Good night from New York. Anderson Cooper is next."
Lokesh Narayan Tonight will be broadcast from Mumbai, India. Friends of Lou Dobbs object that Narayan lacks Dobbs' experience, but industry analysts say that won't matter in the long run. "Back in the Moneyline days, sure, you needed a financial expert," says Dr. Mark Kinsley of the Institute for Economics and the Media. "But with Dobbs' recent turn toward protectionism, he’s made knowledge of economics essentially irrelevant for his position. Narayan can fill it if he hasn’t even read Adam Smith. In fact, it’s better if he hasn’t. I think CNN made a smart cost-cutting move here."
The Hemingway Star has learned that other professional anti-free traders may be feeling the bite of foreign competition in the near future. The board of directors at The American Cause, a conservative group founded by past presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, has hinted that it may replace its leader with a team of undocumented workers. In Missouri, home state of protectionist politician Dick Gephardt, a popular ballot initiative calls for exporting the Minority Leader’s job to the Philippines.
In the meantime, Dobbs’ agent Anne Wilcox reports that she has found him a number of openings in the fields of dishwashing, seasonal harvesting, and chicken plucking, but apparently the former anchor does not find these jobs so appealing after all.
Fortunately for his fans, Dobbs’ television career may not be over yet. With Steve Irwin fighting for his job after bringing his infant son dangerously close to a live crocodile, the Discovery Channel is considering replacements. “Crikey!” Dobbs exclaimed in an off the record interview. “I would love to strike a blow for American workers and take that Aussie redneck’s livelihood!”
A pilot of Lou Dobbs: Crocodile Hunter could begin filming as early as February.
(c) 2004 Jacob Grier.