CNN is giving a newly prominent role to Lou Dobbs, including a slot alongside Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper as an anchor of midterm election coverage next month.
NEW YORK (AP) — CNN is giving a newly prominent role to Lou Dobbs, one of its most popular and opinionated personalities, including a slot alongside Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper as an anchor of midterm election coverage next month.
Dobbs’ weeknight news show will expand to seven days a week, with the two weekend editions presenting highlights of the week’s reporting beginning Oct. 28.
The longest-running anchor on CNN’s air, Dobbs is suddenly hot again, due to his new opinionated persona as a crusader on issues like immigration reform. His hourlong ”Lou Dobbs Tonight” is up 22 percent in viewers this year over last, a bigger increase than any show on CNN or Fox News Channel.
”Our use of Lou and Anderson and Wolf on election night is all about showcasing our best people,” said Jonathan Klein, CNN U.S. president.
Making Dobbs an anchor for the Nov. 7 elections coverage raises questions about whether or not cable news is entering a new, more opinionated era, said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Keith Olbermann in recent weeks has included a series of barbed commentaries about President Bush and Iraq on his MSNBC show.
Dobbs is ”creating a brand for himself and the question is, is that the kind of brand you have anchor on election night?” Rosenstiel said. ”Would you have Bill O’Reilly anchor on Fox?”
After 30 years of anchoring, Dobbs knows when it’s appropriate to report the news and when to offer opinion, Klein said.
”He’s also one of the most influential political journalists of the day and it would make no sense not to have him involved in our election coverage,” he said.
Dobbs will conduct discussions with analysts on what is happening election night, he said. ”We’re not calling on him as a guest to voice his own opinions,” he said.
Dobbs is also anchoring three pre-election special reports: ”War on the Middle Class” on Oct. 18, ”Broken Borders” on Oct. 25 and ”Democracy at Risk: E-voting’s Threat” on Oct. 29. The title of the first special is the same as Dobbs’ new book, published this week.