CNN Running Scared: Network Refuses to Air Media Matters’ Ad

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)– Media Matters for America responded to the news that CNN has refused to air a Media Matters ad calling on the network to credibly address Lou Dobbs’ continued promotion of birther conspiracy theories. A CNN spokesperson reportedly told the Politico, "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."

Watch "CNN’s Dobbs Problem":

"This seems like the actions of a network desperate to provide cover for its primetime host rather than living up to its standard of being the most trusted name in news," said Eric Burns, president of Media Matters. "If the ad is accurate — and we know that it is — then there is no reason for CNN to block it from its airwaves."


Media Matters bought a week of ad time on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News in Washington, D.C., New York, and Atlanta. As reported on The Huffington Post, "[F]ive of the six cable providers contracted for the project have informed the group that they are declining to put the spot on CNN."

The ad, which was set to air today, calls out CNN for continuing to allow Dobbs to promote racially charged conspiracy theories about the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate.

Watch "CNN’s Dobbs Problem":

In defending Dobbs’ promotion of the birther conspiracy, CNN president Jon Klein has become increasingly isolated, even among members of his own network. Numerous journalists and commentators have rejected the story and exposed its racially charged subtext. CNN’s Roland Martin said that the real question birthers are asking is, "How is this black guy all of the sudden running the country?" Similarly, Frank Rich of The New York Times wrote that Dobbs was playing on "escalating white fear," while the Politico‘s Glenn Thrush said the charges were "a proxy for racism." Shortly after Dobbs began giving renewed credibility to the conspiracy, MSNBC president Phil Griffin called the story "racist." Even conservative commentators like Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter have refused to dignify the accusations.

In the wake of such reactions, an Associated Press article that ran over the weekend referred to Dobbs as a "publicity nightmare" for CNN. The New York Observer hasreported that Dobbs’ ratings have been significantly hurt by the controversy.

During a recent interview, Klein misrepresented Dobbs’ coverage of birth certificate conspiracies and suggested that Dobbs’ coverage of the issue has been "legitimate." Last week, Klein told TV reporters that Dobbs’ coverage of the issue has been "all about the phenomenon of doubters" — with Klein suggesting that Dobbs has done nothing more than host discussions of why "some people doubt" that Obama is a U.S.-born citizen.

Klein is not telling the truth. Dobbs has done far more than simply ask why there are still people who doubt Obama’s citizenship. He has legitimized their racially charged conspiracy theories by demanding that Obama produce further documentation — all to prove something that Klein himself acknowledges is beyond doubt.

For more information, please see:

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.