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If you’re tuning in regularly to watch your favorite black voices on CNN, they won’t be on the air much longer.

CNN is parting ways with long-established voices of Soledad O’Brien and Roland Martin and the network may also be planning to say goodbye to Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist and CNN’s only African American female commentator.

In addition, Mark Whitaker, executive vice president and managing editor of CNN, who is also black, left the network in January.

The move by CNN to eliminate these high-profile black personalities while hiring three white commentators around the same time has resulted in frustration among black journalists and led to a meeting with Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN Worldwide, and members of The National Association of Black Journalists.

“With O’Brien’s departure, Suzanne Malveaux will be the only black weekday anchor. On the weekends there are [Fredricka] Whitfield, Don Lemon, and Victor Blackwell. [Isha Sesay anchors part of “Anderson Cooper 360,” and Lisa Sylvester does news updates for “The Situation Room,” Richard Prince wrote in his diversity column, “Journal-isms.”

And, according to CNN, the network recently hired Jake Tapper and Chris Cuomo from ABC and Rachel Nichols from ESPN – all of whom are white.

Martin’s contract with CNN ends on April 8 and there are many African American journalists who feel that CNN is rapidly losing authentic black commentators to voice concerns of African Americans and speak about critical social issues from a black perspective.

Still, there is speculation that CNN could soon hire other black commentators like Van Jones, a former Obama administration official, Cornell Belcher, President Obama’s pollster during the presidential campaign, and Charles Blow, a columnist with The New York Times.

But here’s some good news: Even though CNN may be losing several black commentators, O’Brien will still produce her “Black in America” documentaries for CNN — and perhaps other networks — through her new production company.

“There’s so many great stories to tell,” O’Brien told The New York Times.

The decision to retain O’Brien’s services for more “Black in America” documentary films is important to note because O’Brien is the only anchorwoman telling compelling stories about people of color in a long-form format on national television.

O’Brien’s mother is Afro-Cuban and her father is Australian so she understands the concerns of African Americans and Latinos and seems committed to telling their stories. O’Brien said she would also like to pitch a “Poverty in America” documentary.

“We can take some of the discussions around these issues and carry them to new audiences,” O’Brien told the Times.

I’m sure many African Americans would value more documentaries about people of color, but in the meantime, beginning in the spring, you won’t see O’Brien on her early-morning show, “Starting Point” anymore.

O’Brien said her show never got the support it deserved from CNN and the program only pulled in 234,000 viewers on an average day.

“We greatly value Soledad’s experience, and her first-rate storytelling will continue to be an asset to CNN,” Zucker said in a statement. “Documentaries and long-form story telling are important to our brand and we’re anticipating more of what we’ve come to expect from her — riveting content.”

O’Brien’s morning show on CNN has been cancelled but her desire to share captivating stories about African Americans may live on through her documentary films.

What do you think? With the changes at CNN, will you continue to tune in?

(Photos: Retna, PRPhotos)

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46 thoughts on “ANALYSIS: CNN Canceling Trusted Black Commentator Contracts: Soledad O’Brien, Roland Martin Out at CNN

  1. I truly love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own personal blog and would love to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!

  2. joblo on said:

    She’s not black. Her mother is half-black and half-hispanic. Her father is white. That makes her one quarter black, one quarter hispanic, and half-white. If she’s black, then my car has a full tank of gas when the needle says I only have a quarter tank of gas. Same logic, Right?

    • PRussell on said:

      You’ve never heard about the one drop rule here in America!

      The one-drop rule is a historical colloquial term in the United States for the social classification as Negro of individuals with any African ancestry; meaning any person with “one drop of Negro blood” was considered black. The principle of “invisible blackness” was an example of hypodescent, the automatic assignment of children of a mixed union between different socioeconomic or ethnic groups to the group with the lower status.[1] The one-drop rule was not adopted as law until the 20th century: first in Tennessee in 1910 and in Virginia under the Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (following the passage of similar laws in several other states).

  3. To be honest this was an incredible indepth report nonetheless as with every fantastic writers there are several details that is proved helpful upon. But never the particular significantly less it absolutely was interesting.

  4. Pingback: Ouster of Roland Martin sparks more worries about diversity at CNN | Over Most Of These Stations

  5. Ntare gault on said:

    I keep reading how we have to own our media. This is much easier said than done. It’s a business. Remember when BET had its news shows before they sold out. They did not have the money to have correspondents all over the world then they ended it. Also, we need to be on way more than one network, or be reporters at more than one newspaper, our voice is much more vast than that.

    • Every year they come out with statistics on how much money a group spends. We have the money – we just don’t have UNITY. Mexicans (Latino is not a race – topic for another day) I see with their own stations. Until we unite on something – we will always get what we have always get. Someone else cancelling our services and saying thanks but no thanks….

  6. Alberta on said:

    I watch CNN sometimes..& I’ll continue to watch..lets be strong adults here..ya’ll know black folk do things to each stop tripping! I’m sure some of ya’ll still hangout with “Black folk” why judge??? I was harassed by black folk at work..SOOO lets keep it moving. Do whatever you want to do at your “Black” businesses white folk do. I’m a African Am. woman…see I know some of ya’ll don’t like me already…Lol

  7. Gerald Hampton on said:

    Well i guest in the back rooms at CNN they are mad at Obama and the progress of Black folks so let just boycott them and go to MSNBC and other station that welcome us. I learned a long time ago that my money will spend were i need it to. Let them depend on the whites for support just like Mitt Romey did. So let move on we are free now.

  8. Pingback: ANALYSIS: CNN Canceling Trusted Black Commentator Contracts: Soledad O’Brien, Roland Martin Out At CNN | Praise 1300

  9. shame on said:

    It breaks my heart to see CNN come to such shame……and all this time I thought I was the only one who noticed the change…..

  10. Chris40 on said:

    Roland Martin and Soledad O’Brien (She ain’t Black!!!) getting fired from CNN, I say so what!!!!! Some of the posters say Black folks should have they own media, true dat. Also, Black people should support existing Black media like Black newspapers.

  11. Perhaps Jeff Zucker is related to James Wagner, President of Emory University. Mr. Wagner’s recent comments regarding theThree-Fifth Compromise is another example of wider racial problems in America. Mr. Wagner suppose to be a leader of a major University but he used the Three-Fifth Compromise as an example of how people with different viewpoints can come to a resolution. In other words, he looks at black people as less than a human being. In fact, Wagner as well as several white Emory professors have demonstrated that they do not value black people. Based on Wagner’s statements, it appears that he believes in the inherent superiority of one race over another. Soledad’s next story should be “Racism at Major (very expensive) Universities”

    • My question is do we value ourselves?? Who gives a damn what these professors think. If we are powerful – and responsible black people – WE WOULDN’T CARE because we would be too busy building our futures.
      We keep falling for the same old trap time and time again. We wonder why no one place value on us – hell we don’t value ourselves..

      • Great point! However, unfortunately, regardless of planning and preparing, minorities are powerless at these University. The tone of any organization and insititution is set at the top. For example, if a leader is racist, some or most of his followers may be able to succeed at treating minorities like they are less than a person (Three-Fifth). For example, white professors at Emory (and other institutions) have a tremendous amount of power. I have witnessed acts such as mis-grading final exams, changing exam questions after the submission of the final exam, and other unbelievable acts by these professors. All of these acts were committed because a graduate student complained about gender/racial discrimination and bullying. Well, the white professors Won the battle as the graduate student was expelled three months before her graduation.

    • I understand the points u are making – but if we remember our HISTORY. Booker T Washington was trying to prepare us for the FUTURE with his Tuskegee Institute of self reliance – but did we listen to him. No our people got caught up in calling him an UNCLE TOM and the disagreement between him and W. E. B. Dubois. We fail to realize both of their ideologies – were needed.
      We have had so many messengers come our way but yet we fail to hear the messages. But we waste time dealing with people and institutions that are out to destroy us. No one can DESTROY US both US. You know from where i sit – we are doing a DAMN good job of it..

  12. Well when WE don’t OWN our OWN – CNN can do as it please.
    Get over it people – STOP BEGGING – LET’S BUILD WHAT WE WANT – DAMN!!!!!

    • Racial Profilin on said:

      Thats right… Don’t complain about white folks decision. I stopped watching that channel years ago. Black folk start creating your own like Oprah Soledad instead of complaining all the time.

  13. Alison Newby on said:

    I rarely watched CNN during the election. Their coverage was much more negative in my opinion. While they have a few Black personalities remaining, they have not given any African American their own show. Very disappointed and I will continue to go to other networks for my news.

  14. Tea Breeze on said:

    I prefer to watch MSNBC too. You know I think it’s a shame that we are still living among racist individiuals. I enjoyed watching CNN because yes, you allowed hosts like Soledad and Roland Martin. But now you can forget it.

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  16. What the hell is wrong with the world. It can never go back in time. Where one door close a better one opens. That’s what I say. All the Black newscasters should get together and open there own station.

    • queenb00 on said:

      I watch Soledad and will miss her on Starting Point. Never watch any one else on CNN. I cannot tolerate Wolf Blitzer for one second. He has a tendency to be degrading to black folk. CNN is not who they use to be. I would like to see MSNBC hire Soledad. CNN cancelled a show she hosted in the past. They seem to push her around at will.

  17. GirlFilmGeek on said:

    I watch Soledad and will be disappointed to see her show go. I’ve followed her career since she was on the Today Show on NBC. Wherever she goes her fans will migrate with her.

  18. Buckwheats Momma on said:

    I watched CNN before Ms. O’brien or Mr. Martin were ever thought of at CNN, and I will watch after they are gone.
    Both are talented and have something to offer, so they will land on their feet!
    Good luck to both!


    Y’all Better Start Raising HELL Before ALL of THE GOOD BLACK JOURNALISTS ARE GONE! This is a shame. They KEEP TAKING BACK THE GAINS!

    Is it RACIAL??? YES!!!! SOLEDAD O’BRIEN and ROLAND MARTIN, both GONE! What Else Would You Like To Call it??? FYI…a whole lot of the Black Fok that work at CNN came from NBC! FYI…Remember Zucker was once the CEO at NBC!

    • I totally agree – u get no argument from me on that POINT.
      Black folks need to wake the hell up!
      Lets STOP wasting our MONEY on BS – with all the MONEY spend – we could have built 2 media companies by now…

  20. Linda Jackson on said:

    I don’t watch CNN,Fox or HLN (These stations have a little racism going on). I am sure Soledad is marketable for a network that is more sophisticated than CNN!

    • clarence on said:

      I think Zucker has caused an unrepairable problem. This market will not soon forget, and somehow will taint other CNN ethnic markets. Not a good move guy. Not a clever move. The country is turning brown, didn’t you notice. Bringing in any new brown will not melt away the damage. You could have done this a better way.

  21. Ola Rfobinson on said:

    No biggie i left CNN awhile back. They were never on in prime time anyway. I will catch them where ever, they go i know I will see them on another channel.

  22. arlester on said:

    hi this is a real joke. cnn has lost a lot of back viewers. i say all of us let go to msnbc, because they let their people tell the truth and thye tell it from their hearts not their thoughts.

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