Mainstream Media Phases Out Prominent African-Americans

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Michael Baisden, Roland Martin, Soledad O’Brien and Constance White have all either been fired or stepped down from their respective positions in the communications field. With their departures the future of African-Americans in mainstream media is uncertain.

Michael Baisden announced via his Twitter on Wednesday, March 20 and his Facebook Thursday, March 21 that “The Michael Baisden Show”, his nationally syndicated radio show, was being cancelled. He stated “We were unable to reach an agreement with our syndication partner Cumulus Media. This was not a hostile situation; sometimes parties have different ideas and visions about how to move forward”.

The show, which ran for 10 years, will air re-runs until March 29th. Baisden also stated that “[Although] We may not have been given the chance to have a going away party, but the welcome back party is going to be the bomb”.

Although, Baisden will continue to be an active presence in appearances, his dismissal leaves an absence of the African-American presence on radio. Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey are the only African-American nationally syndicated shows in radio.

Roland Martin and Soledad O’Brien have also been dismissed as analysts and have had their roles redefined at CNN, respectively.

Roland Martin announced his dismissal via Twitter on Tuesday Morning. He announced that his last day at CNN would be April 6. Jeff Zucker, CNN’s new president, is responsible for the decision citing a new direction for the network. Martin confirmed this via twitter stating, “New Boss wants his own peeps”.

Martin will continue to work as a columnist and analyst for TVOne.

Soledad O’Brien is not being “fired” from CNN, but rather taking on a new role in the news organization.

Soledad O’Brien, host of “Starting Point” a morning television show, is being let go of her current position at CNN at the request of Jeff Zucker. Her new role will be a host of documentaries for CNN part-time, while also forming her own production company Starfish Media Group, which will created documentaries for CNN and other organizations.

Furthermore, Constance White was also fired as ESSENCE Editor-In-Chief.

The repeated dismissals of African-Americans in mainstream media leave the future of our presence in media uncertain.

There are only two other nationally syndicated radio shows hosted by African-Americans.

At CNN there are no African-Americans in primetime. Donna Brazlie, Van Jones, Charles Blow and Cornelle Belcher, all contributors, are the only African-Americans left. MediaBistro has reported in “CNN:Which Shoe Will Drop Next” that the network is looking to part ways with Brazlie. Furthermore, all of CNN's new hires made by Zucker have been white. Zucker in a effort to dismiss racial prejudice met with leaders of the National Association of Black Journalists to discuss his network's commitment to diversity. No new hires of color have since been made.

Additionally, Essence has still made no comment about the firing of Constance White or the future of the organization.

The facts point to a gradual phasing out of African-Americans out of mainstream media, and until African-Americans protest or refuse to stop watching these programs who segregate against us, no change will be made.


The Fight For Black Media Ownership

Tatiana M. Brown is a native of Washington, D.C. who is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Follow her @TatianaMBrown or check out her website, or contact her at

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