Dobbs Watch: Facts? Who Needs Facts?

By May 8, 2007Dobbs Watch

Dobbs WatchThose of you who caught our buddy Lou’s interview on “60 Minutes” last Sunday heard more than a few whoppers. In the course of a long profile/interview with Leslie Stahl, Dobbs calls himself an “advocacy journalist,” whatever the hell that means.

But the best part of the interview for non-fans like us who regularly point out Lou’s non-obsession with the facts, was an exchange with Stahl where she notes that in the course of a story on illegal immigrant carrying diseases into the US, Dobbs minion Christine Romans says there were 7,000 cases of leprosy in the US in the past 3 years. Says Stahl, “60 Minutes checked that and found a report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, saying that 7,000 is the number of leprosy cases over the last 30 years, not the past three. The report also says that nobody knows how many of those cases involve illegal immigrants.” (Emphasis ours). This exchange then ensues:

“We went to try and check that number, 7,000. We can’t…,” Stahl says.

“Well, I can tell you this. If we reported it, it’s a fact,” Dobbs replies.

“You can’t tell me that. You did report it,” Stahl says.

“I just did,” Dobbs says.

“How can you guarantee that to me?” Stahl asks.

Says Dobbs, “Because I’m the managing editor. And that’s the way we do business. We don’t make up numbers, Lesley.”

Wow. Let’s let the arrogance linger in the air just a bit, shall we…?

But that’s not all. In the end of the interview, there’s this back and forth on whether Lou is a journalist, which of course everyone knows he’s not. Imagine an interview with a guy claiming he’s Elvis. Same-same:

STAHL: I’m sitting here saying to myself, `This man runs a news show?’

Mr. DOBBS: Hmm. I do.

STAHL: And you can just tell me you don’t like the president. Whoo.

Mr. DOBBS: I, matter of fact, insist that the audience know where I come from.

STAHL: What about fair and balanced?

Mr. DOBBS: I’ve never, Lesley, found the truth to be fair and balanced. I found it to be…

STAHL: But that’s–but wait, what’s the definition of “journalism?” That that’s in there.


STAHL: That has to be part of what a journalist is, is fair and balanced.

Mr. DOBBS: I truly believe there’s a nonpartisian, independent reality. But more of the same…

STAHL: But it’s your reality.

Mr. DOBBS: It is my reality.

STAHL: But it’s not the reality.

Mr. DOBBS: Well, how so?

We’ve been tracking Lou’s many foibles for nigh on two years now. He plays fast and loose with the facts, is johnny-one-note and at least as far as trade is concerned is just flat wrong on so many fronts. That hasn’t stopped him — far from it — and it hasn’t stopped CNN from giving him a platform for his ill-informed point of view. Hopefully exposure of the kind he got on Sunday from “60 Minutes” will further reinforce in the public’s mind how far he’ll go for ratings — far beyond the truth.

Who needs facts, indeed?