CNN's Bossy Soledad O'Brien: I Treat Rudy Giuliani Like One of My Kids

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast offers a positive profile of CNN's Soledad O'Brien -- she's "Cable TV's New Morning Thunder" -- but the morning host appeared quite arrogant in her trashing of Rudy Giuliani.

Grove loved her smack talk at Rudy as she tried to deny a Libya coverup on October 22: "It was the sort of thrashing that very few TV hosts would have the nerve to administer to the hero of 9/11. At an hour when many bleary-eyed viewers are waking up and easing into their day, it was the morning-show equivalent of spilling coffee on the bedsheets. It was also riveting television." And then she compared handling Rudy to talking down to one of her children:  

“I really wasn’t pissed—we just had to lay out some ground rules,” says O’Brien, a 46-year-old mother of four. “You know what it reminded me of? It’s like when you speak to your kid, and you’re like, let me tell you something: we can disagree, or we can agree, but this is how it goes."

There's an inspiring sales slogan: "CNN: Where the Anchors Talk Down to Guests Like They Were Children." Grove touted Soledad's importance (if you don't look too hard at her third-place ratings):

These days O’Brien is an unignorable factor in the presidential campaign. It was on her program, which runs a distant third to Fox News’s Fox & Friends and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, that Romney blurted that “I’m not concerned about the very poor” (a gaffe that immediately went viral) and Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom likened his candidate to an Etch a Sketch (a comparison that persists in the media-political bloodstream).

In recent weeks, O’Brien has tangled with a posse of Republican talking heads—most memorably with frequent guest John Sununu, who, when she challenged his assertions about Medicare, advised her to “put an Obama bumper sticker on your forehead.” She’s also twitted the odd Democrat or two.

Grove then turned to her ex-boss, former CNN president Jonathan Klein, who praised “her tough questioning and lean-in demeanor, her ability to get people to open up to her, and her relentless drive to make everything as good as it possibly could be.” Grove at least mentioned that Klein got the boot in late 2010 "amid chronically low ratings."

We're told Rush Limbaugh called her a "puppet" of liberal bloggers, but Grove left out the evidence that Soledad just read from Talking Points Memo on air. Soledad claimed she doesn't read those conservative bloggers anyway (perhaps she compares them to annoying neighborhood children):

Predictably, she has become a juicy target for conservative websites and even for Rush Limbaugh, who calls her “a puppet” of liberal bloggers. But O’Brien says she’s also tough on the president’s surrogates.

Last month, for instance, she called out Delaware Gov. Jack Markell for his “ridiculous” spin before the Denver debate. As for the stream of online criticism, “I’ve got four kids and a job,” she says. “I am so way too busy to look at that.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis