During his short segment on The O'Reilly Factor Monday night, recently deposed CNN news anchor Lou Dobbs parried Bill O'Reilly's attempts to goad him into disparaging the Obama administration, but shed little light on his future plans. Dobbs said that in "the last 90 days," Jonathan Klein, the head of CNN, had made it clear that his vision for the network did not include "advocacy journalism" -- or Dobbs, a 28-year CNN veteran.
"Jon Klein and I talked about the issue of opinion itself and advocacy journalism and he wanted to take CNN in a different direction, and I tried to accommodate him." Dobbs, who graciously contented himself with $8 million to leave, also suggested that ideological opponents were responsible for an incident in which Dobbs's New Jersey mansion was fired upon.
Dobbs, who announced his intention to resign from CNN last week, had become a political lightning rod for his views on immigration, global trade and President Obama. Referring to CNN's management, Dobbs said, "They decided to take CNN in a direction in which advocacy journalism wasn't a part of it."
Fox News's O'Reilly, who hosts the highest rated cable talk show, tried to get Dobbs to talk smack about CNN, but Dobbs wouldn't bite, repeatedly saying he never felt any pressure from CNN management over news coverage -- a charge often directed at O'Reilly's employer, Rupert Murdoch.
Despite the fact that Fox News's slogan is "Fair and Balanced," an incredulous O'Reilly ridiculed CNN for seeking to maintain neutrality in its news coverage. "Every show which doesn't have an opinion is dying," O'Reilly boomed. "Look at Campbell Brown. They just want more of the same, but it's opinion that works. That's what works!"
"I'm just talent," Dobbs demurred, with unconvincing modesty. He said Klein had told him that CNN was moving "toward a more neutral presentation."
When asked about his future plans, Dobbs said, "I'm not going to be coy" -- and then proceeded to be coy. "A lot of things are on my mind," Dobbs said. "My wife and I are thinking about a lot of opportunities. But 100%, I'm going to remain in the public arena."
Dobbs addressed a recent incident in which he said someone shot at his wife while she stood outside the couple's New Jersey mansion. He said he had no doubt that ideological opponents were behind the shooting. "It's a demonstrable fact," Dobbs said. "It followed months and months of threats over our phone. And it became a matter of some intensity preceding that shot."
Dobbs added: "The threats stopped on that very day and we haven't had a threat since then."
Finally, O'Reilly asked Dobbs if he thought Obama is the devil. "He's not the devil," Dobbs responded, "but he is certainly making it not easy to understand the policy choices he is making."
Lou Dobbs talks to O'Reilly about Obama, CNN and who shot at his wife