Lou Dobbs walked away from CNN — and $9 million — under pressure to tone down his rhetoric as the network seeks a more centrist position among the cable news channels.
Dobbs announced his resignation from "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on the air Wednesday night following months of friction between the veteran newsman and CNN brass.
The beginning of the end, the New York Post is reporting, came in July when CNN President Jonathan Klein told Dobbs' staff in a memo to stay away from so-called "birther" stories about doubts that Barack Obama was really born in the United States.
"It seems this story is dead because anyone who still is not convinced doesn't really have a legitimate beef," Klein said in the memo.
Dobbs and Klein have been at odds ever since, according to the Post.
During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama released a shortened version of his birth certificate, sometimes called a certification of live birth. However, he has yet to release his long form birth certificate, which would indicate the actual place of his birth.
This has given rise to Internet rumors that Obama was born outside the United States. Officials in Hawaii have looked at the long form and have stated that he was, indeed, born in the state.
CNN apparently doesn’t like the controversy and is seeking to position itself as a middle-of-the-road news source between conservative Fox News and left-leaning MSNBC, and Dobbs reportedly had been resisting pressure to soften his stance on immigration and other issues.
Dobbs still had one and a half years on his five-year, $35 million contract, which was back-loaded, and he would have earned another $9 million before the contract ended in mid-2011.
Post columnist Cindy Adams had high praise for Dobbs following his departure.
"Ahead of the curve, the man predicted the fiscal crisis," she wrote on Friday.
"Raised the hammer on corporate profiteering at the expense of the middle class. Pointed out flaws in the bank-bailout bill. Waged war on border security, exposing how the feds have lost track of visas, and five years later the subject of immigration became mainstream dialogue.
"His interminable fight on behalf of border agents Ramos and Compean? Remember how the U.S. government subsequently commuted their sentence?"
Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were jailed for shooting and wounding an illegal alien who was smuggling drugs from Mexico into Texas in 2005.
Dobbs, Adams wrote, "analyzed. He predicted. He never saw an argument that wasn't a fight. Lou Dobbs is brilliant. Fearless. Determined to go how he wants to go. He takes sides."
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