There’s a lot of people out here, namely, journalists who refuse to call out Donald Trump as a racist. One seasoned newsperson, Soledad O’Brien, ain’t having it!
O’Brien has built her career as a storyteller and also as a truth-teller. “I often on Twitter talk to journalists because I feel like they dropped the ball at times. I think a lot of journalists are doing great work a lot and I think some are doing poor work.” So she uses her social media account to call a spade a spade, or rather, call a racist a racist.
Even before she was doing it on Twitter, O’Brien was calling out her former colleagues at CNN. During our interview, when The Root crew got a chance to meet O’Brien in her office for an hourlong chat (where we talked about her amazing foundation, PowHERful), we also had to ask her about Trump and all the written acrobatics journalists do to keep from calling him a racist.
O’Brien said, “When he [Donald Trump] uses words that are literally verbatim phrases that white supremacists use, I want people to understand like it’s OK to call things out. It’s OK to say something that is a lie, is a lie.”
During our chat, O’Brien thought back on her CNN days and told us a story about the shocking way some of her colleagues wouldn’t be intentional with their words.
“A year ago, when I was working at CNN, we had to stop someone from using video of people climbing over a wall when they were talking about immigrants,” she said. “I’m like, ‘You don’t even know who these people are. You know you can’t just wallpaper that! Like what are you doing?’
She continued: “That was a news organization! It’s a constant re-educating of people, fighting for people and highlighting for people why this is wrong. I think often journalists don’t even realize it, that there is a reason that people want to portray somebody as a scary black man and you know that the reason is political. It’s got roots in manipulating people. These things aren’t accidental.
“And I think for some people, they just don’t see. They don’t realize that they don’t see it and they don’t know it,” she says. “And then when you highlight it, they’re like, ‘Oh! I suddenly get it.’ I think there’s a value in illuminating that for people.”
Check out a very no-nonsense Soledad O’Brien in the video above calling any and everyone out who refuses to call your lil’ president what he is: a racist.