Hatewatch

SPLC to O'Reilly: You Lose Dobbs Bet

To: Bill O'Reilly
The O'Reilly Factor
Fox News Network

Dear Bill,

You lost the bet. Time to pay up!

When I appeared on your show in July, you were so certain that the Southern Poverty Law Center's call for CNN to fire Lou Dobbs was a waste of time that you bet $10,000 (with the proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity) that it wouldn't happen.

"CNN's never going to fire him – you know that," you said.

I told you that I disagreed, because I wasn't as cynical as you.  I believed that if enough people spoke out – and they did – that CNN would do the right thing.

I expect you will argue that Lou didn't get fired – that he got fed up and quit the network he had been with for three decades.

But as a litigator, I'd like to present Exhibit A:  Dobbs' $8 million severance package, which was reported today by the New York Post.  I think you'll agree that Mr. Murdoch's Post would never report such a thing were it not, indeed, a fact.

And would CNN fork over $8 million – enough money to pay for 13 miles of electric border fence – to an employee who simply wanted to walk away from his multimillion-dollar contract because he couldn't constrain his opinions on a news show?

I doubt it!

Maybe your fall-back position is that it wasn't a real bet.  I don't know.  But I think that if you'll stop spinning for a moment, you'll agree that in the court of public opinion, you lose.  I know it hurts deeply to be wrong.  (Although Lou won't admit it, it happens to the best of us.) You can be assured that your loss will be a big win for a family in need of housing.

CNN did the right thing. Now it's your turn!

Sincerely yours,

J. Richard Cohen
President, Southern Poverty Law Center