It was a messy bit of television. Soledad O'Brien of CNN's Starting Point interviewed Joel Pollak, Breitbart.com editor-in-chief, and the interview got downright messy. Too much talking over one another. No clear winner. Folk like Tammy Bruce are claiming "CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Crashes Her Clown Car." Those on the other side are claiming O'Brien pinned Pollak and Breitbart.com to the mat.
The fuss was over the release of a video showing President Obama back in his Harvard Law School years introducing Prof. Derrick Bell, the first tenured black professor at the school, well-known for his Critical Race Theory.
After viewing the clip, O'Brien asks Pollak, "What part of that was the bomb shell?" She continues,"I missed it." She accuses Pollak of completely misreading CRT.
O'Brien was right --- connecting Obama, a Harvard law student, to Derrick Bell, a Harvard law professor, is not a bomb shell --- but I felt her point got lost in the ensuing group discussion. This was messy American news programing. This was not a clear BBC style presentation or a multifaceted CBC panel discussion.
O'Brien says, accurately I might add, that a lot of law students read Derrick Bell. It is part of their education, she says. Unfortunately, O'Brien's word were not allowed to stand on the own. The whole discussion gets very confused as other panel members jump into fray. Even Rush Limbaugh gets tossed into the mix. Sheesh.
It is interesting to note the the Harvard Law School Bulletin published a tribute to Derrick Bell after his death. The Bulletin wrote:
(Bell) helped to develop critical race theory, a body of legal scholarship that explores how racism is embedded in laws and legal institutions. And more broadly, over the course of his five-decade career, he worked to expose the persistence of racism.
Dean Martha Minow said: "From his work on the front lines of legal argument in the civil rights movement to his pathbreaking teaching and scholarship on civil rights and racial justice issues, Professor Derrick Bell inspired and challenged generations of colleagues and students with imagination, passion and courage."
"He has left a trail of immeasurable scholarship," said HLS Professor Charles Ogletree ’78 of his former professor, his mentor and his friend.
The New York University School of Law News reported: "The NYU Annual Survey of American Law dedicated its 69th volume to the late Derrick Bell. . . . (Bell spent) two decades at NYU School of Law as a full-time visiting professor"
NYU President John Sexton said, "(Bell) had the capacity that the really great teachers have, to make you think about something completely differently from the way you thought about it before you began to work with him. . . . I’m not sure I’d be here today if it hadn’t been for his pushing me as a scholar."
It seems there are a lot more people than just President Obama who admired Professor Bell and there are also a lot of folk who would support Soledad O'Brien's position. Sadly, panelist Amy Holmes did not come across as one of her defenders.
Amy Holmes wishes more had been made of this video in 2008. This should have been "put into the public square," she argues. Ah yes, if only the MSM had gotten its teeth into this back then as they did with the Jeremiah Wright stuff. This video would have really made for some incredibly messing and uninformed discussions, something CNN and their ilk seem to think makes for good television. Funny. Their rating don't reflect the popularity of their approach.