Soledad O’Brien: ‘Journalistic Cowardice Is a Crime and Should Be Pointed Out’

By A.J. Katz 

If you’re one of the 1.2 million who follow Soledad O’Brien on Twitter, you’re aware that she has become one of the most prolific and outspoken critics of political and media journalism in recent years.

Scroll through her Twitter account today and you’ll find tens of stinging criticisms of both mainstream and conservative media coverage of the Trump administration—and it’s not even noon.

“It’s very much my voice and how I think about things and talk about things,” O’Brien told the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Battaglio during a recent video chat. “You’re a reporter, and you’re supposed to be held to a certain standard. Journalistic cowardice is a crime and should be pointed out.”

Battaglio reported that the agents and lawyers who cut her business deals have never told her to cool it on Twitter, although she has responded to one criticism.

“Someone did say ‘Could you stop saying the F-word?’” she said. “And then my children said, ‘We think we agree with that, Mom. You curse so much and you should stop. It’s so embarrassing.’ So I’ve tried to curse less.”

O’Brien doesn’t limit her barbs to conservative media coverage. Battaglio notes that she frequently berates New York Times and CNN for headlines and takes that she believes normalize Trump’s often unpresidential behavior (the term “racially insensitive” to describe racist statements is a particular target).

O’Brien is quite familiar with CNN. She spent a decade at the network, leaving in 2013 after not having her contract renewed. Prior to her run at CNN, she spent 12 years at NBC News/MSNBC (1991-2003).

O’Brien has kept busy since leaving CNN seven years ago, and not just on Twitter. During an interview with TVNewser last May, she told us about her work as anchor of Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, a Sunday show that’s syndicated by Hearst Television. O’Brien is also a correspondent for HBO’s Real Sports, moderated a BET town hall last June and runs a production company, Starfish Media, that’s dedicated to nonfiction programming and branded content.

She told the L.A. Times that she’s set to launch a limited true crime podcast for Luminary, and recently pitched a scripted series to Empire creator Lee Daniels that is inspired by her experiences as a TV news anchor.

Does O’Brien want to get back into the cable news space?

“I loved anchoring, but I would not want to do that now,” said O’Brien, who has two daughters, ages 19 and 18, and 15-year-old twin boys with her investment banker husband Brad Raymond. “It’s very hard to sustain, it’s exhausting and you’re never around. I mean, I was never, ever class mom on anything for my older daughters, who remind me of it constantly.”