Sure enough, stirring up controversy and public outcry is a time-tested method in cable news of juicing your ratings (and, as we noted recently, Mr. Dobbs of late has been in dire need of something to stop his ratings slide).
But somewhat remarkably, to date, Mr. Dobbs' fascination with the president's "mysterious" birth origins has failed not only as a journalistic line of inquiry but also as a lure for ratings.
To wit: According to The Observer's analysis of Nielsen data, in recent weeks, as criticism of Mr. Dobbs has continued to go up, his ratings at CNN have continued to go down.
Mr. Dobbs' first began reporting on Obama birth certificate conspiracy theories on the night of Wednesday, July 15. In the roughly two weeks since then, from July 15 through July 28, Mr. Dobbs' 7 p.m. show on CNN has averaged 653,000 total viewers and 157,000 in the 25-54 demo.
By contrast, during the first two weeks of the month (July 1 to July 14) Mr. Dobbs averaged 771,000 total viewers and 218,000 in the 25-54 demo. In other words, Mr. Dobbs' audience has decreased 15 percent in total viewers and 27 percent in the demo since the start of the controversy. Read on...