Andrew Lam, Pacific News
Michael Hiltzik, LA Times, 2003;
Denver Post, 2005;
Bart Jones And Mae Cheng,
Newsday, 2006; Nina Bernstein,
New York Times, 2007;
Wall Street Journal,
What a coincidence!
In a departure from tradition, O`Brien is
our first worst immigration winner from the broadcast, not
O`Brien, who is
Cuban black, half
Australian Irish, has gathered many boring conventional
awards, including one named after herself: the
“Soledad O`Brien Freedom`s Voice Award” from the
Morehouse School of Medicine
for being a “catalyst for
But, because the
competition is stiffer, ours is harder to win—and therefore
I note that the
“O`Brien Award” given
to O`Brien is significant because, as you will soon learn, she`s
in love with herself.
Therein lies the secret of O`Brien`s
success. No matter what the assignment O`Brien, ethnically
speaking, is the right reporter for the job.
When CNN wants a black to interview
Michelle Obama, the
Hurricane Katrina displaced, or
victims, there`s O`Brien posing as a black. (See O`Brien
with Obama, her “passion
for justice” for New Orleans` residents displaced by Katrina
and the Haitian orphan victims
here. More evidence: in
this interview discussing another of her documentaries,
“Black in America”, O`Brien identifies herself as black.)
However, if CNN decides that it would be a
good idea to run a documentary about being
“Latino in America”,
they can call on O`Brien, a self described Latina. (Here,
among a Hispanic audience, O`Brien reconfirms that description.)
When a highfalutin` organization needs an
ethnically all-purpose speaker, O`Brien is their girl. Her
appointment calendar is
booked solid because she`s everything all rolled up into
one: female, African-American, Hispanic and
For example, last year on November 10th
travelled to Yale University as the guest of the
Poynter Fellowship in Journalism to present her
speech agonizingly titled
“Diversity in the Media:
Behind the Scenes & in Our Lives”.
Chances are good that O`Brien used the same
notes from her October 28th speech at
St. Joseph`s University:
“Diversity on TV, Behind
the Scenes and in our Lives”.
Before I launch into why O`Brien won this
year, a little biographical information will help you understand
why my choice is an easy one.
O`Brien never misses a chance to literally
cash in by referring to herself by her complete name,
María de la Soledad Teresa O`Brien.
doesn`t speak Spanish, this gives O`Brien an excellent
opportunity to define herself as a multicultural maven who`s
perfect for CNN or any other mainstream media outlet. Maybe if
she looks back far enough in her genealogical tree, she`ll find
Against all evidence, O`Brien stretches to
make a point of her black/Latina roots. In an interview for her
official CNN biography, O`Brien states that she has:
“a mass of kinky hair, light brown skin and lots of freckles”.
Photographs of O`Brien do not support her
this ethnically ambiguous photo I see a traditional
hairstyle, no freckles and either light brown skin or too much
Now to my topic: During her seven year CNN
career and before that
at NBC, O`Brien has been consistently terrible on
immigration and race.
What iced our award for O`Brien is her
“Latino in America”,
bombed in the ratings and had the curious effect of angering
some Latinos. Her 2007 documentary,
“Black in America”,
raised the ire of many blacks.
Defending “Latino in
America”, O`Brien tries to make the case that she represents
a “voice for the
The immigrant story is told repeatedly in
the most sympathetic terms on CNN or in the
New York Times, the
Los Angeles Times, the
Washington Post and
What the CNN documentary does, apparently
without O`Brien catching the irony, is emphasize why illegal
immigration does not—as she would have you believe—make the case
for diversity but instead exacerbates the
problems of multiculturalism.
One of O`Brien`s subjects is
Francisca Abreau, a Dominican high school student apparently
in the U.S. illegally, who when pregnant at 14, contemplated
suicide. Then, after Abreau gave birth to
her anchor baby daughter Destiny (!!!), she received therapy
for her continued identity struggles.
Here`s what I take from Abreau`s story: at
taxpayer`s expense she took up a seat in a New York
classroom, delivered a baby and underwent costly psychological
treatments. In the light of
twenty-five years in the California public school system, I
would place Francisca`s odds for success as an adult at near
In another segment, O`Brien featured Tucson
illegal alien activist Isabel Garcia, who during an
open borders rally beheaded a pinata that resembled Sheriff
Joe Arpaio. (See it
here.) Garcia (email
her) defended it as free speech.
One of the interesting things about O`Brien
is that for as much time as she spends defining herself as black
or Latino, she never refers to herself as American—even though
she is American-born, raised in
middle class surroundings.
When O`Brien discussed the conceptual
evolution of Latino in
America, she said that she was approached by many ethnic
groups urging a special on
Asian in America,
Gay in America, and
Muslim in America. But O`Brien never mentioned what would be the
interesting of all:
White in America.
At least one black viewer
O`Brien is sharp enough to realize that the
multicultural angle works for her. She`s parlayed it into a fat
salary and inflated speaking fees. Moreover, she`s married to an
investment banker and lives
the high life in Manhattan.
Her ethnic roots, whatever they may be,
have paid O`Brien rich rewards.
Along with her five siblings, O`Brien is a
Harvard graduate. However, she didn`t learn much.
The final jeopardy question that O`Brien
couldn`t answer: “Trees
with biblical names include the
Joshua tree and the
world`s oldest tree,
a 4,700-year old pine named for him. What is it?” O`Brien`s
reply: “Who is
answer: “Who was
excuse: the buzzer is hard to operate.
Along with her complete failure to report
honestly about immigration, I deducted points for O`Brien`s smug
attitude and grating voice, a big minus for a television anchor.
(Watch her talk about Spike Lee
Finally, O`Brien is not only a phony but
flat out just not a nice person!
In a non-journalism related incident, last
year O`Brien signed an eviction notice for her co-op neighbor
because she did not like his dog!
According to O`Brien, a Neapolitan Mastiff
in her building
offended her because of its
shedding, drooling, gassiness and odors".
Luckily for Ugo and his owners,
the judge threw O`Brien`s case out.
We`re resigned to lousy media immigration
him] is a California native
who recently fled the state because of over-immigration,
over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He
has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the
growth rate stable. A
long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the