September 08, 2005

CNN's Soledad O'Brien given the verbal smackdown by NOLA resident

American Morning co-host Soledad O'Brien has had this holier-than-thou on-air attitude throughout the entire crisis following Hurricane Katrina. The past few mornings, she has been broadcasting from New Orleans to show the magnitude of the disaster.

Well...this morning, a New Orleans resident whose house is high and dry came on the CNN morning program and...let's just say that Soledad got the smackdown.

S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

We've been talking about some of the residents who refuse to go, even though there's a mandatory evacuation order.

Well, Delia Labarre is one of them.

She joins us this morning after riding her bike to our interview.

Good morning.


S. O'BRIEN: Is this pretty much how you're getting around?

LABARRE: Yes, when I go out. Someone loaned it to me, actually. But -- so I found my way here.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you go out a lot?

LABARRE: Yes, I do.

S. O'BRIEN: What's your day like?

LABARRE: I've been staying in the past couple of days doing household things, taking care of business around there. But I -- before, when the refugees were still here, I was making calls for them, trying to get rides for them, getting -- letting relatives know they were OK...

S. O'BRIEN: Where do you live?

LABARRE: ... cooking for them, because I have access to a gas stove. I live over in the Arts Warehouse District and...

S. O'BRIEN: And what's the condition of your house?

LABARRE: Well, it's high and dry and...

S. O'BRIEN: No damage?

LABARRE: No damage. A few shingles that got blown off during the wind, during the storm and a few panes of glass, window panes broken.

S. O'BRIEN: So when you hear about these forced evacuations, when the mayor says and the police chief says...

LABARRE: I'm hearing about this forced evacuations. I'm horrified. It's -- I don't quite understand it. They're not giving us much information. I talked to some state troopers just now and they say they're trying to get the bad elements out. But I, you know, and they said we don't know the difference, so we're just trying to get everyone out. So now they're looking... S. O'BRIEN: But even...

LABARRE: ... they're looking at all of us as criminals.

S. O'BRIEN: But even if you're not talking about bad elements or good elements in the population, I mean smell this water. It's horrible.

LABARRE: You're the one who chose to be here. I don't choose -- I didn't choose to be here. I just came to visit you (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

S. O'BRIEN: But this is an indication of what it's like.

LABARRE: This is where you're camping out and this is what you're showing the world. You have everybody in the world believing that the whole city looks like it. I would suggest that you go over there and start -- and film a little bit where it's not flooded.

S. O'BRIEN: But even if your neighborhood is good this is toxic. I mean everyone...

LABARRE: Well...

S. O'BRIEN: ... agree it's a (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

LABARRE: And why are you breathing it, you know? I mean how many days have you been here?

S. O'BRIEN: That's an excellent question.

LABARRE: I think it is.

S. O'BRIEN: We should wrap up our studio...

LABARRE: I think it is, you know?

S. O'BRIEN: But -- and I get your point. But I'm not going to live here. And I'm...

LABARRE: Well...

S. O'BRIEN: And some people would...

LABARRE: I mean the water is going down and I would not, I would go, I would have gone before the storm hit if I had been living in a low lying area. I know enough about how the city lies, the elevations at various points. I knew I was on one of the highest points in the city. I was above ground. And I had placed my fate with the city. My ancestors were original colonists of the city and they didn't tuck their tail between their legs and run.

S. O'BRIEN: You have electricity yet?

LABARRE: Not yet. It should be on any day.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you have water?

LABARRE: I have running water now. I have lots of bottled water. And lots of other people are in the same way.

S. O'BRIEN: There's no stores. Where do you get your supplies from?

LABARRE: We have plenty. We stocked up, you know? I mean, you know, this is -- people in this country, the majority, are so used to real conveniences, lots of conveniences, and they just -- they can't imagine how to exist. But, you know, some of us are, you know, take it or leave it. But we have, you know, we can exist with far less.

S. O'BRIEN: When you see pictures of people who are surrounded by water and sloshing through that dirty water...

LABARRE: Yes, well...

S. O'BRIEN: ... and they are saying a lot of the same things you're saying...

LABARRE: I understand.

S. O'BRIEN: ... which is I live here, this is my home, I don't want to leave...

LABARRE: I understand.

S. O'BRIEN: ... should they be evacuated?

LABARRE: But, you know, the alternatives that they've been offered have not been humane. And I sympathize with them.

S. O'BRIEN: What do you mean?

LABARRE: Well, I mean I saw where they were putting them. They promised them a bus. They promised them a nice place to live and they put them at -- in hellacious conditions at the Superdome, at the convention center. I talked to those people. They were made promises and they didn't come through with them. And they -- I'm sure they're making promises to them now that they're not -- if they don't come through, you know?

So, and I think that there's a lot of media hype right now. I'm questioning whether or not there's not a little bit of a manipulation of the media so that when the death toll starts coming in, that the mayor and other officials can say see, you've been reporting it for all this time. People refused to leave and that's why there's so many dead.

That is not true.

S. O'BRIEN: That's an interesting...

LABARRE: They did not offer these people a way out to begin with. They offered them a ride to Superdome. They never offered them transportation out of the city.

S. O'BRIEN: Do you have a working shower?

LABARRE: Well, we have a -- the water is on.

S. O'BRIEN: All right.


S. O'BRIEN: So can we come and see where you're living?


S. O'BRIEN: Open up?

LABARRE: Yes, you could, if you like.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. We'll talk about that afterward.


S. O'BRIEN: We would like it.

LABARRE: Oh, wait. Could I just ask one more thing?

S. O'BRIEN: Absolutely.

LABARRE: We would like to ask the mayor to meet with us, those who are here, instead of just this forced evacuation, which I understand is actually illegal, according to our attorneys. We would like to ask him to meet with us, those who are here and would like to stay, and those who are wanting to come in. They're all over the country. They will come in. They will drive to sit down and talk with them about rebuilding the city.

S. O'BRIEN: We'll see what the mayor says to that request.

LABARRE: Thank you very much.

S. O'BRIEN: Delia Labarre, it's so nice to meet you.

LABARRE: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Good luck to you.

LABARRE: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: And we're going to take you up on your offer.

LABARRE: Yes, you're welcome.

S. O'BRIEN: We haven't showered for a long time by (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and we'd like to just come and see how you're living.

LABARRE: OK. I'll fix you a cup of coffee.

S. O'BRIEN: I'll take that, too.

LABARRE: Thanks.

S. O'BRIEN: Karen, thank you.

Let's get right back to Miles.

LABARRE: Don't touch me.

Ouch! That's gonna leave a mark...
(video available at The Political Teen)

Posted by mhking at September 8, 2005 03:25 PM | TrackBack

To this old three tour Vietnam Vet the Media making things worse than they are and showing the worst of the worst is no surprise. Wolf Blitzer once said to a former president, "It's my job to MAKE NEWS and it is your job to avoid news!" It was a classic, "Gotcha!" That is exactly how the so called journalists view their approach, not report the news but spin, manipulate,shock,play "gotcha" and MAKE the news not just report the news in a balanced way. If there is anyone expoloiting the Newe Orleans tradgedy via the problems it is the news media. Because they were on the spot and it took exactly zero additional support and resources to crank them up and all they have done is report the negative at the expense of the heroic acts and the common sense of old time residents.

Posted by: Bill Montgomery at September 8, 2005 05:17 PM

I dont see how Soledad O'brien got the 'smackdown'. the transcript shows a fair interview by an intelligent standard. the bottom line is that people have died and like the lady being interviewed said "promises are not being delivered upon"

Posted by: George Bush at September 8, 2005 07:48 PM

She got her ass whupped. Even ah can see that.

Ahd do that Soledada chick if ah cud.

Posted by: Bill Clinton at September 9, 2005 02:30 AM

Just like simpleton conservatives to say someone said something when they didn't. You know your heroine "Ms. Holdout" will be the first one to file a lawsuit when she gets some kind of sickness from bathing in nasty water. I say let her stay there, give her a check up, and deny her any assistance if she gets sick. Idiots!!

Posted by: dtabonjugo at September 9, 2005 09:26 AM

Yikes . . . well, you know it's a smack-down when the reporter is desperately trying to change the subject.

Posted by: lolajl at September 9, 2005 10:40 AM
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