Why Soledad O’Brien’s Critique of CNN Exposes The Media’s Unhealthy Obsession With Trump
Veteran journalist and current host of Hearst Television’s Matter of Fact, Soledad O’Brien is a national treasure, and one of those rare breeds who takes her vocation very seriously with every dignity she can muster.
It’s refreshing to have the reassuring presence of esteemed reporters who are still dedicated to the quest of enlightening and thorough reportage, that’s not clouded by the distorted climate of clickbait and traffic-worthy jargon, that even the most notable news organizations have tragically internalized; in a desperate bid to stay pathetically relevant.
O’Brien, spent a decade at CNN, and was unceremoniously let go in 2013 when her morning show, Starting Point, failed to perform according to the ambitious ratings system. When asked about how she felt about her abrupt dismissal, the honest response reflected the true definition of professionalism, especially when your reputation is at stake:
“We did not get a lot of promotion. We did not get a lot of marketing. We weren’t fully staffed.” “That’s just what happened.”
“I don’t look at things as, ‘Was I disappointed to have a show that didn’t have a lot of support?’” “We did a really good job.”
The behind-the-scenes drama was expectedly tumultuous, as it was confirmed that CNN head, Jeff Zucker and O’Brien, didn’t see eye to eye when it came to the overall direction and tone of the show, and the built-up tension ended up sealing its fate.
It was sad to watch the departure of someone that I had grown to admire as a trustworthy source of unfiltered information, and after enough years have passed, it makes a lot of sense that her absence was filled with eager loyalists Erin Burnett and Chris Cuomo, who are programmed to play the game without push back.
Since O’Brien’s exit from the clutches of the “most trusted name in news,” she’s been flexing her well-oiled skills in ways that her former employer couldn’t tolerate. And as she enjoys the flexibility of her station, there are the occasional jabs that are appropriately thrown at the news outlet that cowardly betrayed the worth of an immensely talented and passionate journalist.
As we weather the intense toxicity of the Trump administration, there’s no way to avoid the gigantic elephant in the room that seems to be expanding with the daily reports, that confirm the direness of having a recklessly incompetent buffoon at the controls of world dominion.
The national obsession with the former reality TV star who used his wealth to buy residency in The White House, for the sheer pleasure of swiftly dismantling the organized tools of efficiency that past presidencies painstakingly erected for the sake of law and order — began when Candidate Trump dazzled the nation with his diseased bravado.
Suddenly he was everywhere, and the media didn’t even try to resist the urge to capitalize on the ratings bonanza, that poured in from endless coverage that even featured an extended hour-long shot; capturing the Trump jumbo jet parked on the tarmac — thanks to the hunger games of CNN.
You can’t ever forget where you were when you were privy to the exact moment when the once “trusted” cable news network sold out. I was at the gym, punishing the treadmill with the anxiety of how a thuggish figure was rapidly emerging as a strong contender, in an arena that used to be populated with reasonably decent notables.
CNN fell victim to the damaging news cycle that evolved into the presently chaotic landscape, that was shaped with earnest; at the expense of our sanity and global respectability.
The 2016 election season was achingly defeating and potently destructive, as the very foundations of excellence and progressiveness were paralyzed by the renderings of a celebrated brute.
Donald Trump won the office of the presidency because America wanted him to win.
There’s a very good reason why Hollywood is the vital connector and distributer of the calamities that enhance the vibrancy of our existence. We can’t resist the temptation to dramatize and romanticize the ugliness that drives the vulnerability and shamelessness of nefarious characters, that are enveloped in historical relevancy.
The unconventional president with a penchant for threatening tweets during ungodly hours of the night, as well as the righteous allegiance to White supremacy with all its criminal pursuits, is being aggressively feted by the organizations that claim the honorable responsibility of holding their prized nemesis accountable, for his growing rap sheet of damning offenses.
The evidence shows that President Trump has played a major role in resurrecting once-ailing institutions. All we have to do is peek into the renewed robustness of Saturday Night Live, and be blown away by how the Trump-related skits consistently produce the wins that aren’t remotely hilarious; when you consider the terminal diagnosis of a government that’s under siege by the demonic hero of a rogue party.
Television reboots of classic TV shows like Murphy Brown, Will & Grace, and the ill-fated Roseanne, that conveniently re-emerged as The Connors, are a testament to the greedy pangs of producers who also want a big slice of a very slimy pie.
The world of entertainment will always get a pass when it comes to reaping the rewards of the fictionalized real life horrors of an assaulted environment, but when news organizations engage in similar activities, that’s when alarms go off and panic sets in — as we’re forced to accept the unacceptable.
Even before Soledad O’Brien’s critical analysis of CNN began to dominate the headlines, keeping up with the non-stop stalking of President Trump was becoming a challenging ritual.
Right at the beginning of this terrorizing presidency, CNN quickly established its position with the intent of being indebted to the crippling tactics of the Commander-in-Chief, who is brilliantly commandeering the profits of organizations that depend on his bad behavior for profits and bonuses.
Perhaps this explains the volatile relationship between Trump and mainstream media, and why his insistence that the “Enemy of the people” label — aptly applies — can’t be casually overlooked or downplayed.
The press is certainly not the enemy of the people, but there is a gaping divide separating us when it comes to the fulfillment of service rendered, and the unbiased pursuit of justice that does include highlighting the president’s exploits; as well as re-emphasizing the bullet points that have resulted from the evilness of a criminalized administration.
Imagine that CNN recently rolled out what was supposed to be an in depth series that was meant to seriously tackle the issue of hate crimes, and why the infectious rhetoric of the president, has endorsed the rapid spread of racially-motivated incidents in the form of domestic terrorism.
Instead of giving it the exhaustive reception it deserved — State of Hate — was casually inserted in the weekly news hour that lasted a couple of segments.
The Kennedys lasted almost a month! And while the docuseries about the political dynasty of America’s most revered aristocrats was fascinating enough for that investment, it’s appalling that producers couldn’t assign that level of adherence to a subject matter that deserves even more attention based on the activation of a national crisis.
CNN’s blatant inconsistencies due to the religious affiliation to “all-things Trump” is preventing the kind of reporting that spotlights the heavy events that demonstrate exactly why the villain in The White House needs to be tormented with evidence of his crimes.
We need to dispense with the smug disposition of overpaid anchors, who relish the assignment of roundtable discussions, that are stalled in the limbo of over-wrought debates that aren’t meant to deliver solutions.
Why didn’t Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo or even Brooke Baldwin travel to the ravaged and fiery wasteland of the fires that devoured California? Why was it more appealing to model slick windbreakers, and energetically cover the engrossing dramatics of the Hurricanes? Why was it more effective to laboriously focus on the mass shootings in the Jewish synagogue, and barely cover the equally horrendous tragedy in Thousand Oaks?
And why does CNN enjoy the bottomless of pit of shitty offerings that are doled out daily in the form of invites to idiotic bigots, who are asked to spew out nonsensical summations on behalf of a nationalized thug, who is footing the bill for these terrifically wasteful and aimless productions.
Not too ago, a Twitter thread was built from the frustration and disgust of Shareblue’s Oliver Willis, who eloquently designed the words that incriminate the self-serving approach of CNN, that has ultimately eaten away at the organization’s once-reputable format.
Willis was so on point with his assessment, that he caught the roving eye of users, including O’Brien, who once again took the opportunity to voice her own personal disapproval with the network that has frighteningly lost its way.
Nothing in the world can possibly justify the recruitment of deplorables like Rick Santorum, and Trump rejects; Corey Lewandowski and Anthony Scaramucci, to mention a few. They are inept and cunningly veiled adversaries, that serve as potent mouthpieces, that are lovingly handled by disgracefully weakened anchors.
Chris Cuomo’s Primetime Live, Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room and Jake Tapper’s The Lead, are all serving as the portals of dysfunction that parade as functional weaponry against the very virus that they’re pretending to valiantly vanquish, under the deceitful armor of an award-winning brand.
What’s the reasoning behind constantly engaging in the absolute stupidity that Rick Santorum pridefully emits with venomous glee, and without an ounce of guilt about how his abominable stance on national and global emergencies is elevating risk factors.
And in the same breath, we witness the uneventful discarding of former CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill for the sin of cautiously wading into controversial territory.
Hill, who is a professor of media studies at Temple University, gave a speech at the United Nations in honor of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and his themes were rightfully purposed to evoke the spirit of activism, on behalf of the oppressed.
“We have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grass-roots action, local action and international action that will give us what justice requires and that is a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
That statement ruffled the feathers of certain groups who wasted no time sharing their displeasure, and the heat apparently got hot enough to force CNN to get rid of the well-respected scholar, who was one of a handful of pundits, that actually added value to a wilting platform.
The media’s unhealthy obsession with Donald Trump is a habitual disease that needs to be curtailed and replaced with the honorable endeavor to expose the ills of society; as opposed to over-indulging in the analytical spreadsheet of a bullish warmonger.
We are already well-versed and all caught up in the never-ending saga of “all-things Trump.”
The long and debilitating hours that are allotted to the career trajectories of non-diverse newsrooms, is inadvertently impacting wearied viewers, who need a lot more than the conniving efforts of “undercover Trumpsters”— who are misusing the power they wield in an industry that is sadly crumbling.
The time to get clean and rehabilitate needs to start now — because it’s already too late.