Ex-CNN Anchor Soledad O’Brien Scolds Cable News For Normalizing White Supremacy

During an appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources, O'Brien criticized her former network and others for the "he said, she said" way they've covered this election.
soledad obrien

Making a return to her old stomping grounds, Soledad O’Brien made a point of calling out the cable news industry for the way it has normalized the hate speech coming from Donald Trump’s campaign and providing white nationalists a large media platform to legitimize their views.

Speaking to Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter Sunday, the ex-CNN anchor discussed the contortions many of those in the media have done to create false equivalencies in their coverage of this presidential race. Highlighting how many have made it a “he said, she said” game between Clinton and Trump regarding the role of racism in the run to the White House, she noted that actual white supremacists are given air time to show their support for Trump while he calls Hillary a bigot without providing any proof.

After talking about how Clinton used her Reno speech to factually make the case that Trump’s candidacy is fueled by racial resentment, O’Brien offered the following observation:

“I’ve seen on-air, white supremacists being interviewed because they are Trump delegates. And they do a five-minute segment, the first minute or so talking about what they believe as white supremacists. So you have normalized that. And then Donald Trump will say, ‘Hillary Clinton, she’s a bigot.’ And it’s covered, the journalist part comes in, ‘They trade barbs. He said she’s a bigot and she points out that he might be appealing to racists.’ It only becomes ‘he said, she said.’

When in actuality, the fact that Donald Trump said she’s a bigot without the long laundry list of evidence, which if you looked at Hillary Clinton’s speech, she actually did have a lot of really good factual evidence that we would all agree that are things that have happened and do exist. They are treated as if they are equal.”

She then reiterated that reporters continue to go through “contortions” to make things seem fair and balanced, something that was agreed upon by Stelter.

Later on in the segment, after The New York Times’ Mark Leibovich denied that there was any false equivalency going on in media as a whole, claiming that you can’t make that observation because issues such as racism aren’t entirely objective, O’Brien remarked that the cable news industry is benefiting from the airing of hateful and divisive rhetoric. The way she sees it, emotion and heated debate brings in more ratings and makes for more compelling television, leading to news execs to promote that type of coverage more and more.

“So hateful speech brings a really interested, angry audience This is genius! We should do this more often. What shall we do when this election is over? We’re going to have to think about ways to really rile people up, make them angry and divide them. Because that is something that cable news, frankly, and everybody can cover really well. So, I find it very frustrating. I believe he was over-covered at the beginning.”

Now, it is ‘he said, she said’ all the time. We have lost context. We actually don’t even cover the details of something. We just cover the back and forth of it. It’s funny to watch if it weren’t our own country and our own government actually operating.”

Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Raw Story:


Justin Baragona is the editor and publisher of Contemptor. Prior to starting the site, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He currently resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.
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