Roland Martin: CNN Superstar (Save For One Pithy Hater)

The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz wrote an interesting piece on Roland Martin being the first African American to helm a show on CNN since Alan Keyes’ aborted run on “Alan Keyes Is Making Sense.”

Martin is sitting in for Campbell Brown on “No Bias, No Bull” and may get his own weekend, primetime show in the end.

In it, Kurtz goes through Martin’s history as a journalist, his Liberal-leanings (despite that one time he voted for George H.W. Bush) and being anti-abortion/pro-death penalty. (Um … Irony? If people are people and fetuses are people and murderers are people shouldn’t you be pro all life? I mean, I got the Catholic’s back on this one. And do you not know how many people, white and black, are being released from death row due to DNA evidence? We’re killing innocent people while murderers walk the streets. You’re like Alan Keyes, man. You’re NOT MAKING SENSE!)

That said, I’m happy for Martin. He’s a confident dude. I think he can live up to the not-quite-centrist view of the show. It’s in fourth place so it can’t do worse. I don’t think he’ll be a complete Obamabot or anything no matter what News Busters says. But some folks are seriously questioning CNN’s common sense on this move.

Namely … a hater.

We all have haters. Roland might think The Snob is a hater. I’m not. I’m a shameless self-promoter who has used two little complaints you made about the blog and pimped them as hard as possible to tell people that Roland Martin reads this blog.

Also, I’m not a big fan, but I didn’t say what this dude said about you.

One who still hasn’t taken to Martin, now a commentator on Tom Joyner’s radio show, is Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg. They clashed bitterly on Martin’s old radio show.

“I see him as a man who can’t think, can’t talk, and here he is doing both on television,” Steinberg says. “I find it mystifying that CNN would take this local laughingstock and inflict him on the rest of the nation.”

Classy! But Martin being Martin says he got his.

Martin, who says he “smacked him around” on the radio over a controversial column, calls Steinberg “a media wimp . . . a know-it-all with a penchant for being snotty.”

Personally, I think Martin is simply highly ambitious. This is not a crime. I’m ambitious. But being ambitious will make people sometimes become annoyed with you or question your motives. Good luck with Campbell’s show, Martin. This is CNN. If you’re pretty, they let you read a teleprompter. If you have a brain, you could be put in that closet where they keep Soledad O’Brien.

Poor Soledad. Someday that contract will expire, girl, and you’ll storm whatever is left of CBS and tell Katie Couric to get out of your damn chair.

PS. Did anyone check Roland out? How do you think he did?

18 thoughts on “Roland Martin: CNN Superstar (Save For One Pithy Hater)

  1. Snob I’m biased. I think they all suck. This personality-pundit driven "news show" format is all bullshit and not journalism or news. No matter the network, it’s silly compared to the old school Cronkite, Reasoner, Chancellor, Brinkley stuff, as well as Max Robinson here in DC and Big Bad Bernard on the "old" CNN. Seriously Snob, there’s no real difference between Roland and Hannity, if you really, really look. Opposite sides of the same dumbass coin. And now another "star" is born. We don’t need stars. We need journalism.

  2. I haven’t seen Roland’s new show yet, but I’m rooting for him. There aren’t enough people of color on CNN or in the news media. That was an awful thing for Steinberg to say, which bordered on racism. While Roland may not be as talented as other talking heads, to say he can’t think, speak or talk is really going too far.

  3. @ ChrisI gave up on TV news taking itself serious again a long time ago. Many try to keep the tradition alive, but the truth is journalism has always been a hot mess with a brief, academic period in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Before that you had Thomas Jefferson paying off columnists to attack President Adams, the "Yellow Journalism" that lead to the Spanish American War and countless other rebel papers with little to no standards. (See "Kane, Citizen")So really, we’re just returning to our natural state of competitive nastiness and sensationalism. I went easy on Roland because, you know, I like making fun of people and sometimes those people can develop a complex. In the end, I don’t plan on watching the show, but I wish him success. If the TV journalism world has gone mad you’re going to need a few junkyard dogs barking for your team.

  4. I have to admit, while Im actually politically aligned with Roland’s views (im VERY liberal, but I happen to be anti-abortion, although also anti death penalty unlike Martin, and I NEVER EVER thought about even lifting a finger to vote for bush), other than that Im politically aligned with Martinbut I do not get this move….this is a WTF move for me…..just not the right person for that role, what was CNN thinking (although I TRULY DISLIKED Campbell Brown and her Republican husband!)ps: We need black woman for the evening slot ASAP!!

  5. I really don’t like Campbell Brown but I can’t wait for her to come back. I wish they had given the slot to someone like O’Brien. Martin is just an all around laughing stock. He’s not a journalist, just a talking head like so much of the news these days. I’m in full agreement with Steinberg on this one. I think CNN is just disparate to connect with Black viewers, because it is one demographic that neither of the other stations are addressing and so they are just reaching for whatever and whoever they can find. And since Martin seems to like the way he talks I’m sure he wouldn’t pass up an opportunity. There are so many better commentators and journalists out there. I do think he will be a Yes for the president and whatever he does, providing criticism when he feels as if he needs to balance it out. He’s already been on air making the most bizarre rationale for the President that it was worthy for an award. I’m all for having more diversity on cable news, but I’d support one when a creditable one comes up and not this hack.

  6. I haven’t checked Roland out on CNN but I take offense to any Black dude that wears the so called Book of Morality around his neck. Something just don’t seem right about him. I miss Cortland

  7. I’m biased too. I don’t know how to answer your question. I only kind-of feel safe watching Morning Joe and that is not to listen to Mika or Joe or Willie. (Nepotism kills me.) I just like their guests so that is as far as I go on taking cable news seriously. If I want to feel secure to value opinions of television journalists, I watch the BBC, CSpan, Jim Lehrer, Washington Week, or Charlie Rose. I love Deborah Mathis but I don’t watch TV-One. I used to listen to Jonetta Rose Barras when she was not scaring me to do death on the radio. She is fearless and supremely intelligent. When I would see her at the coffee shop and post office in Adams Morgan, all I could do was gawk. I was intimidated by her everything. I wished she gave a class. But as for those on tv now…I can’t stand the Liberal Elite journalists and their tactics of boasting that they are Progressives when they are not–the latest political trick that does not look to be going anywhere. So when it comes to really taking any of these air personalities serious to be fair and balanced, I don’t. I can’t. I saw too much in this last election that told me who the personalities really worked for in favor. Roland disappointed me in how he showed out as an Obama-fanatic. I still regard him though with a protectionist prejudice favor because of something he did before he was famous that was really kind to me.See…I have seen Roland in action before he made it to tv to witness something I admire about him. So I want to plea the 5th in not having to be too critical or fair and balanced because he was quite open to me when most people of the Black Establishment were dickhead, narrow-minded elites.I sensed that Roland is a good, good, good person but that does not and can’t buy meriticracy always. I was terribly disappointed with a lot of his rationale shared in the last election to defend everything about Obama quite brazeningly under his brand image of being a supposed journalist when he clearly was a voluntary surrogate. But I will still remain loyal. I even get why he is with Essence and their 5th grade philosophies and media tricks. He is ambtious and he knows he needs to broker with them–the largest base of our people who are narcississtic and growing in number but are not the smartest chips in the computer factory. That’s who everyone chases though. They chatter and will spend if they like you. They will be your surrogate then.

  8. @ AndreaWhat you mentioned in the last graph is exactly what my problem with Roland was/is. Roland jumped down my throat back in Jan. 2007 when I had three readers because I wrote he was pro-Obama and he went out of his way to inform that he was an impartial journalist, was critical of Obama and had said supportive things of Clinton and McCain. I printed a retraction (granted it was cheeky, but this is me we’re talking about here) and apologized to him.THEN he turned around and did a fluffy interview with Michelle for TV One and I called him on it and he complained in the comments AGAIN, but this time about how it wasn’t necessary for him to be critical or give something different. And I also watched him switch on CNN from "impartial reporter" to full-on Obama supporter so I basically felt like my apology was for naught. I wasn’t surprised, but I was amazed at how brazen the change was. He was the direct opposite of Tavis in many ways when it came to Barack and Michelle. So while I wanted him to do well I lost a great deal of respect for him. I mean, this is a guy who worked for the legendary Chicago Defender and got into a flame war with me over a Shelly O puff piece. A guy who did have a serious journalism career and charisma, but wrote a piece blasting the Obama press office for a lack of diversity when it was diverse, leaving the whole thing with a whiff of "he chose Gibbs and not me."My point was there’s nothing wrong with doing Shelly O puff pieces (I’m a Shelly O puff piece!) … if you don’t go around shouting at people about how you’re a "serious journalist" and "impartial." Gah. It smacks of ego. Especially the press office thing. I didn’t believe for a minute that was about minorities. That brother wanted a job. I’ve been there before. It ain’t pretty.

  9. I am having a big problem understanding the issues many here have with Rolan Martin. I only know of Martin in passing so I am not aware of his support for/against the President but some of the posters here seem to have a serious problem with him because of his support for the President. You don’t like him because he first was "pro Obama" before he was "a full-on Obama supporter"? And for this some of you don’t want him to do well on CNN? Or do well at all? Instead of a "pro Obama" before he was "a full-on Obama supporter", just what would you have preferred Martin to be? A "pro" and a "full-on supporter" of the racist republican party, John McCain and Sarah Palin? I don’t have cable and can’t watch CNN. Even if I had cable I would not watch CNN because I know from many other sources that CNN, Fox, and with a couple exceptions at MSNBC, what passes for journalists there are working with the republicans to try to discredit and to undermine President Obama.Black talking heads, who are suddenly very popular on these networks, are invited on simple because they have at some point, criticized President Obama. What a novel idea to invite some black wanna-be on to knock the black guy who is now in office.Something the President said that these folks don’t like, something he did that they don’t like, he is not black enough, he is too black, he speaks the english language, he doesn’t wear a bone through his nose, bla, bla, bla. Six months age, these black talking heads, except for Juan Williams, could not pay money to CNN or Fox to allow these black folks folks to clean the CNN/Fox toilets. So now they are commentators?So, how did Roland Martin get invited to fill in on CNN? Is he a Porch Negro like Tavis Smiley and Shellby Steele?Help me here. Are you afraid that Martin will say something in support of the President?Any why would you have a problem with that?Those of you who don’t support the President had the chance to elect McCain.

  10. @ SammyI think you missed my point. Roland attacked me for saying he was pro-Obama, then became pro-Obama, then attacked me when I said he wasn’t an impartial journalist, then complained that he really was even though he’d just said he was pro-Obama.I was just asking dude to stop yelling at me like I was lying on him when he kept doing exactly what I said he was doing.That said, journalism is about being impartial. Not picking teams. Roland can’t have it both ways. That’s all I’m saying. You don’t "elect McCain" by just reporting the facts. Otherwise we should just give up on journalism altogether.

  11. Danielle,In the movie, "Hoodlum," Laurence Fishburne’s character told Andy Garcia’s, "When you don’t know, you don’t know."With that said, it’s clear that you and others just don’t know what a journalist is.First, all journalists are not the same. There are folks who work in radio, newspaper, television, for magazines, and online publications.Let’s use newspapers as an example.We have journalists for the metro section, national and international desks, lifestyle, business, sports, etc. And within those sections you have different jobs. The folks who are "reporters" actually report. Are they journalists? Absolutely. Then you have the folks who are columnists. Are they journalists? Absolutely.When you turn to the editorial page, there are members of the paper’s editorial team. Typically there is an editorial page editor to lead it. Their job is to take a position on a variety of topics. Is it opinionated? Yes. Do you see editorial pages endorse candidates? Yes. Are they journalists? Yes. Then there are op-ed columnists. Clarence Page is a perfect example. He is an op-ed columnist for the Chicago Tribune and is nationally syndicated. Is Clarence a columnist? Yes. That is his specific job. Does he still fall under the umbrella of being a journalist? Absolutely.A bunch of you seem intent in not understanding the different roles that people play.When you watch television, Candi Crowley, John King, Jessica Yellin and our other "correspondents" are traditional reporters. They paint the picture, tell the story, and leave it at that. If this were a newspaper, they would be called "reporters."Then there are the folks like me who analyze or comment on the issues of the day. Do we take sides on all issues? Nope. Do we offer our perspective on these issues? Yes. Do we have the liberty – just like a newspaper columnist – to take strong view on one or the other? Absolutely.Now, during the election, I offered analysis on all candidates, especially during the primaries. When we got to the general, we continued to do that. ONE of the big reasons folks often came to me for the "Obama perspective" is that I had covered him longer than ANYONE else on the CNN set and had major contacts within the Obama campaign. So, if someone asked, "Roland, Obama is trying to end this rift over Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Why leave the church?" Because of those contacts, I can offer the perspective of someone who has reached high up in the campaign.Now, I decided to formally endorse Obama ONLY after I hosted three CNN election specials. In that first show, we talked about race, age and gender. I wanted to make the point in the opening of the show that some people vote for a variety of folks, and it’s not ideology. So, I made it clear that I’ve voted for Republicans, Democrats, white men (George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Kerry), white women (Ann Richards), Hispanics and Asians, and yes, African Americans. And I ended by saying, and in this election, I’m voting for Barack Obama, not because he’s black, because he’s the best person at this time for the United States.It was then that I was tagged as the "Obama supporter." Of course, Bill Bennett, Ed Rollins, Alex Castellanos, Leslie Sanchez and others were all tagged as "republican strategists" but they aren’t journalists. Yet we did have conservative/Republican writers, reporters and commentators (Steve Hayes) who made it clear who they were voting for. So are you saying it’s fine for other analysts/commentators to state their preference, but not me?With that said, I hope all of you now understand that not everyone is required to be the fair and impartial journalist who relies on objectivity. The business has ALWAYS allowed for for folks to offer a point-of-view and opinion, and still be called a journalist. As long as an opinion is based on a set of facts, I’m fine with that. But when folks start lying, then that’s wrong.

  12. @ Roland!You’ve returned! I was starting to think you didn’t like me anymore and that made me sad, but now I’m all kinds of happy. Yeah! Roland Martin reads The Black Snob!Actually, I majored in journalism — (Editor of my newspaper! Scholarships! Making $15,000 a year!) and worked as both a reporter and columnist for 10 years before the great big bad newspaper holocaust so I actually know the difference between a commentator and someone who does basic beat reporting. My point was that once you give your opinion for a living as a pundit it’s harder to claim any impartiality with viewers because people can point to you and go "oh, but you had an opinion on this so you’re a hypocrite." You know as well as I that some journalists take a Jesus Christ level of purity when it comes to journalistic ethics, hence I couldn’t tell if you were ascribing to this hardcore morality pledge or not It isn’t journalistic cannon, as you point out. But many people believe it so, even those who don’t practice it. I couldn’t tell if you were a talker or a doer, hence all your responses to me seemed like contradictions and I was left going, "well, what is it my man!?"But you know how the true journalism moralists are. No meals! No gifts more than $5! They won’t even do TV shows (Like Hardball or No Bias) where they give opinions. Some won’t don’t vote. But the average viewer can’t delineate this. They simply lump you all in a bucket and go, "Roland S. Martin is a hypocrite." Especially since all reporter/writers, including me, DO have a degree of journalistic piety about them when it comes to reporting. I know you’re moving from reporting to commentary to hosting and that you can do all three and be a journalist. But the average viewer is going to be perplexed by it and honestly, I only jumped on you oh-so-long-long because I felt it was pretty obvious that you was empathetic towards the Obama campaign. I didn’t know about the Bennett thing (not that it surprises me). And ACTUALLY, if you’d said that instead of being so prickly oh-so-long-ago, I would have been even more empathetic towards you because Bennett can be such a hack. A matter of fact, that makes a lot of sense. There are worse, but there have been plenty times he’s been wrong on you or Donna or gone beyond the pale on …. well, EVERYONE.So you’re essentially saying because of Bennett and his ilke (and CNN’s use of you as their go to guy), a lot of people, including me, thought you’d already come out and hadn’t and I went off on some bad info. But you have to remember that back then you didn’t know me from Adam and this blog had three readers. And when my suspicions seemed to be later "proved" right when you came out for Obama it wasn’t like I got a note or a correction or a "Hey Snob, I told TJ you said hello and he was all, nice blog." Because I totally did that for you. I was snarky the whole time …. but I have a reputation to uphold. That and, I mean, I didn’t anything it either, (or to ever hear from you again) but you could have surprised a sister!That said, I really hope they don’t put you in that closet with Soledad. (I love her dearly, but she is a WASTE on CNN). I hear it is dark in that closet and the only food is Top Ramen. Yeah, you’ll lose weight, but no one wants to do it that way. Good luck with CNN. You already know the drill.

  13. @ CParisThat looks like Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate from 2008. He does look like he’s got a little brown in his background, but I’ve never seen any formal mention of it.

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