CNN’s Soledad O’Brien is responding today to TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington who is featured in her upcoming “Black in America” documentary. O’Brien’s response follows a days-long, often heated online debate, over Arrington’s suggestion that he would accept almost any black entrepreneur, regardless of merit.
After Arrington’s comments were played at screenings, the online debate heated up. Then, last Friday, Arrington wrote this post titled, “Oh Shit, I’m A Racist” accusing O’Brien and her producers of not being straightforward, seeking “gotcha moments” and “lying to the people they interviewed.” O’Brien’s response, posted in the Tech section of CNNMoney.com:
But the reality is very different. Our interview was pleasant, not the light-in-the-eyes third degree Arrington is now recounting in his blog. We were at an AOL office with the publicists who negotiated the interview.
In his blog Arrington says CNN “went to great lengths to hide the topic of the interview.” He posts an early e-mail from one of my producers asking him for a general interview about the tech industry. He omits the second e-mail we sent four days before the interview that spells out that the documentary is about a “group of
entrepreneurs we are following who are participating in the NewMe accelerator. The first accelerator of its kind set up specifically for entrepreneurs of color. Their inspiring stories will be the focus of this CNN Black in America documentary.”
I didn’t ambush Arrington and I don’t think he’s a racist. He’s a realist.