The “most trusted name in news” fires the most trusted name in news

While CNN’s Soledad O’Brien has not been officially fired, she has become a bit of an un-person at the network, as they’ve taken her off the morning show, but haven’t really put her anywhere else, other than in some nebulous outside producer role that may or may not turn into something substantive.

And that’s a pity.

Conservatives hate Soledad. But then again, that’s what conservatives do: hate. The opinion of people who consider Fox News “news” matters little for a network that will never get Fox viewers in the first place. The kind of person who is turned on by Fox’s fact-averse freak show is never going to watch any other network, other than Glenn Beck’s. CNN isn’t vying for Fox viewers, they’re vying for MSNBC’s, and more generally, airports, bars, and other places where TVs run in the background.

They’re also vying for people like me, who would probably watch CNN during the day if I had my TV on, but I usually don’t unless there’s breaking news.  CNN just had to figure out how to get me to turn the TV on.

And passing over Soledad O’Brien isn’t it.

While I know that CNN gets a lot of flack from some on the left, I’ve always liked the network, but only just. I’ve always felt that CNN was on the verge of becoming something “more,” but never quite managed to get there. Fox, as bad as it is, is awfully good at being bad. While CNN is not nearly as good at being good.

Soledad O’Brien was one of the few people I’d turn CNN on for. It boggles the mind why anyone would choose her as the first to push aside when rearranging the deck chairs on the oldest cable news network around. Soledad is smart, pretty, Latina (mom’s from Cuba, dad from Australia), which adds some diversity to CNN’s line-up and content, and she’s one of the few media stars out there who practices actual journalism, and is willing to let an interview get heated, but not hot, in order to better get at the truth.

In the end, perhaps that’s why she was pushed aside: Soledad O’Brien wasn’t willing to play the game of asking simple questions and accepting simplistic answers, or worse, lies.

Cenk Uygur discusses the dissing of Soledad more in this video:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • willardcottrell

    I would uh hope uh they cut uh it from uh 2 uh hours to none uh

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.cummings.14 Ed Cummings

    Just so we are clear I only have one way to express my displeasure at your bad judgement in your dealings with Soledad O’Brian. By the way I am a 70 year old Republican how many of us do you have watching.

  • Devon

    I have felt that her personal bias influences her reporting. As a liberal, I generally agree with her stances. However, I don’t need a news journalist curating truth for me or tailoring facts in a report to suit ‘our’ beliefs or understanding. Or, (as in the case of the Matthews and O’Reily) just be clear that you’re a commentator. Then, you can add your personal stuff to the news. Otherwise, try hard, again and again, to report facts and make observations that are relevant, insightful and completely agnostic to your political point of view. That IS journalism.

  • http://www.facebook.com/whitemanik Bill White

    …and they keep Piers Morgan?

  • David Starkey

    She won’t have ANY problem finding a job. She will have trouble deciding which offer to take. Don’t be surprised to see her as a top 3 reporter on one of the top 3 networks. Speaking of which, WHO THE HELL IS THAT NEW WHITEHOUSE CORRESPONDANT ON CBS?

  • mmazzi

    I think you have it completely backwards. CNN is NOT trying for MSNBC viewers. Maybe years ago, but not now. CNN is most definitely trying for Fox viewers. CNN has moved so far to the right that the station known among actual progessives as “Fox Lite” is losing its “Lite” distinction. I can’t believe that someone who claims on his “about” page to be progressive would state that he would watch a thinly veiled conservative station all day if he had the opportunity. Or that you, as a self-stated progressive, don’t recognize CNN as a conservative station. This seems to only happen with people in the DC bubble. Here’s a cute little example for you. Two years ago, during the Madison, Wisconsin showdown, you may recall the 20 minute “fake” Koch Bros. phone call with Gov. Scott Walker. CNN SPLICED two phrases from different parts of that tape to create an anti-union soundbite that it could repeatedly blast on the air. CNN chose NOT to focus on the actual news story of how this governor was colluding with (who he believed to be) the ultra-conservative corporate multi-billionaire funder from another state. Instead of letting their millions of viewers hear the most damning Walker soundbites, they spun it completely into a conservative message by SPLICING the tape and creating a sentence that LIED to their viewers. The “most trusted”??? hahahaha WAKE UP!

  • mmazzi

    Listen, females in TV have fought for decades to be treated seriously without being kicked to the curb as they age and youthful beauty fades. Your comment is sadly a throwback to the attitudes of the 60′s and earlier. As a feminist, I’ve spent my life arguing against this kind of rhetoric. Judge people for the job they do… not their looks… your judgement is subjective anyway! I agree that “how well you come across” matters on TV… looks have NOTHING to do with “how well you come across”!!!!

  • Carl Gorney

    BBock: You DO know The Situation Room was cut from 3 hours to 2, right?

  • hollywoodstein

    The answer to CNN’s problems is moar Soledad, not less. But Zucker is being paid millions so he knows that.

  • Boyscouts for NAMBLA

    She was a Lefty Hack just like the rest! The 1st amendment was supposed to allow the media to be objective and not be hamstrung to any agenda other than the Truth. No one does this anymore except Stossel and Woodward and we now know what happens when you dissent or stray from the Agenda.

  • http://www.facebook.com/imajudy Judy Walk

    Soledad was the only morning news I watched. (Back to the local news station) The rest are just fluff. If she’s gone – I hope she will replace David (I never heard an answer I could follow-up) Gregory. Tim Russert would appreciate Soledad no-nonsnse; roll the tape interviews.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindsay.hirsch.94 Lindsay Hirsch

    Soledad O’Brien was the ONLY thing CNN had going for it; I’ll be content to see their ratings continue to slide…

  • loona_c

    I had started tuning in to CNN recently BECAUSE of Soledad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000111133695 Lisa Johnson

    John, what does your being gay have to do with being able to appreciate an attractive person? Perhaps I’m missing something here but I don’t get the connection. Not trying to be confrontational here by any means.

  • http://www.facebook.com/arturo.cortez.7146 Arturo Cortez

    I go with Soledad O’brein she is the reason i watch CNN, ..

  • elyhim

    Folks, isn’t it about time everyone left TV? Dropped cable, ignored the created need for this medium? Humanity needs good internet reporting not another cable news show.

    Leave your TV’s off, they are for movies and games. Ignore the television for a month and see if you miss it. I stopped about 10 years ago and get everything I need in snippets on the internet although I would love to have a regular internet anchor I trust to do the heavy lifting instead of sifting through allegiances, funding and corporate cronyism’s to understand the angle news is presented in.

  • elyhim

    I concur with this author’s statement.

  • elyhim

    Terrible idea, she was the best journalist on TV.

  • Opie

    Assertions but hardly any actual facts beyond that the writer has a preference for her stuff and that she did not get the job-

  • bejammin075

    Perhaps more of a hairem

  • Beau Siegelaub

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I love me some Soledad! BRING HER BACK!

  • Dijkdes

    Unbelievable. She was the highlight of that network. Maybe MSNBC can pick her up and have her replace that godawful Al Sharpton.

  • goulo

    Hm? I searched and found mentions of a dispute over a neighbor’s obnoxious dog back in 2009, which doesn’t qualify someone as an “animal hater” in my book. Or is there something more than just that?

  • silas1898

    Wolfie had a whole “harem” of fans during Desert Storm.

  • Straightnotnarrow

    Coming from a straight guy, john’s pretty. When do you get your show?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gigerrescue Adopt Rescue CatsKittens

    yuk, she’s an animal hater. So I’m glad she’s gone…

  • tbetz

    It would be fun in to see Soledad return to MSNBC sans Dev Nul.

  • bbock

    That’s what CNN is doing wrong! They should have their morning talent drink booze and wine during the show and giggle about things. Like NBC.

  • bbock

    Yeah, she’s not Keith Olberman who didn’t know how to keep his mouth shut and enjoy a cushy job when it was handed to him. Seriously, the jackass through a fit for weeks because Current had sh****y lighting.

  • bbock

    That Wolf Blitzer and Bill O’Reilly and Lawrence O’Donnell. Real lookers. Same for Walter Cronkite.

  • bbock

    CNN knows how to fix things. They’ll put Wolf Blitzer on EVEN MORE. That’s been working so well for them. Jeeez. She and Carol Costello are two of the only people worth watching on the network. I include Mr. Keeping Them Honest in that assessment. Man is he overrated.

  • Drew2u

    Ewwww………
    I remember when I didn’t know the difference between Keith Olbermann and Anderson Cooper. Frankly, between the two prima donnas, I’d K.O. :P

  • FunMe

    It’s time for liberals and progressive to start their own cable TV show. Soledad is a top rate JOURNALIST, something that is lacking so much in our airwaves. I’m really disappointed to hear about her not doing hard hitting news stories. Sadly, journalism died during the time that Fox Lies started.

  • cole3244

    i don’t watch cnn or fox or cnbc haven’t for years, if there is any hope of saving whats left of journalism in america someone will give her the vehicle to have a show and do it her way, if not the viewers will have to die of the thirst for info and real journalism.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m usually leery of terms like “whore” unless we’re talking corporate whore, and even then you have to be careful when using it about a woman, because of a misunderstanding in meaning. I had read elsewhere criticism of Erin B being too corporate, is that what you meant?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    As the post says, it’s not a “real” firing, because she still has a contract and it’s not clear if either party can break it, but I agree with Samella below, what else would she say? The scuttlebutt is not that she got a great new gig as a producer.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Because I’m gay and I appreciate a pretty woman, and for tv, your looks matter, and she got the looks. We can pretend they don’t, but they do, whether they should or shouldn’t. How well you come across on TV matters. And most of us have had no problem talking about how hot Anderson Cooper is :)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    There’s only been a few real journalists in news, fewer still in cable network news. However, news as news and not ‘news-tertainment’ has become a quaint anachronism these days.

    I wish Soledad well in her future endeavors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/samella.williams Samella Williams

    What else would she say? After all, she has class and is not the type go insane.

  • tamarz

    Really sorry to hear this — she’s terrific. CNN is eternally stupid to do this.

  • pappyvet

    Soledad O’Brien was one of the few at CNN who was worth watching, I wish her well and hope that we will see her out front again. I fear that in todays world what is acceptable as journalism and straight talk would be slammed regardless of the reporter. Cronkite would today be called a traitor for his views on the Vietnam war. And his reaction to President Kennedy being assassinated would be put forth as proof of his “questionable loyalty,” Edward R Murrow would have to deal with not one Joseph McCarthy but an entire wave of them with Fox news as their well funded propaganda shotgun. When wealth and power aligned themselves with the 6000 year old Earth crowd, ,truth took a hit and hard reporting in many cases took a turn towards George Orwell and away from Murrow,Cronkite,and to a probing journalism.

  • Savage8862

    Why was there a need to mention how “pretty” she was? I liked her because of the fact that she asked tough questions and demanded answers and was not willing to put up with bullsh*t from guests. I could careless if she was a women, a man, black, white, purple, ect. She did her job and she did it well and that is going to be missed.

  • lynchie

    So much for the liberal media.

  • http://twitter.com/xicano2 Xicano2nd2

    Wow, replace a journalist with a whore! Criminal almost!

  • SoLeftImRight

    Soledad O’Brien has dared to occasionally commit acts of journalism on CNN. I’m very glad they are at least having the decency to fund her, but that’s a far cry from being the face of the morning show, or any other key broadcast. Soledad is no towering figure, but she is Walter friggn’ Conkrite compared to insipid Erin Burnett. Ick. There is a reason (ok, several) that I don’t watch CNN any more.

  • rerutled

    While it matters what happens with her now — a lot — you should note that Morning Shows are pretty much the definition of soft-ball journalism. And the reason isn’t that the networks hate hard-hitting journalism. The reason is, viewers, in the AM, aren’t receptive to hard-hits. So, really, since that’s her baliwick, this could very well be a promotion. She moves out of the AM show, and can define a new role. But, sure, it matters what happens now.

  • Ninong

    John, are you sure they “fired” her? She says she’s thrilled that they are funding her new production company, Starfish Media Group: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/cnn-obrien-leaving-morning-show-starting-starfish-media-group-production-company/2013/02/21/0fad499e-7c78-11e2-9073-e9dda4ac6a66_story.html?wprss=rss_social-entertainment-headlines&Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost

    New CNN boss Jeff Zucker said Thursday that he has reached a deal to help fund a production company for O’Brien, who will be making three documentaries for CNN and host this year’s “Black in America” documentary. Zucker is developing a new morning show around Chris Cuomo and Erin Burnett.

    O’Brien said the deal will let her do what she wants to do most, confronting difficult topics and telling underreported stories. She’ll also have the opportunity to own her work and the production company is able to sell material to outlets other than CNN.

    Her new company, Starfish Media Group, will also develop theatrical and scripted television projects.

  • ninjakiller

    Msnbc incoming. Hopefully she’ll replace Morning Joe.

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