At the top of the Internet boom, Lou Dobbs left CNN to start his ill-fated Space.com, from which he returned ignominiously not long after. Dobbs left CNN again yesterday, at what is possibly the top of the conservative pundit boom, to, as CNN put it with a certain dig, pursue his "advocacy journalism" elsewhere.
The progression of Dobbs from a straight-arrow, voice-of-God-type news guy into a dark, wounded, paranoiac, conspiracist and hater of various ethnic groups is something that took place off-camera. One day, a seemingly not very interesting fellow suddenly took up the cause.
His bosses at CNN, obviously bewildered but looking for any ratings advantage, accommodated his sudden change of temperament, or possible breakdown.
This was perhaps the most compelling part of the Lou Dobbs show--not quite being able to understand the context for it. Was this sudden harshness and mean-minded atavism a real conversion, or a determined act of cynicism and opportunism, or was he, in millions of living rooms (well, not millions, this being CNN), just plain wigging out?
The just plain wigging out theory got a little traction last month when New Jersey State Police said they were investigating a report of gunfire at Dobbs' house. The shooting, Dobbs said, followed threatening phone calls. Those calls, he added, have stopped since the shot was fired. Hmmm.
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