'Newscaster' Soledad O'Brien Shushed Crowd at Lefty Earth Day Concert

Washington Post music critic Chris Richards wrote up Saturday’s Earth Day festivities on the national Mall on the front of Monday’s Style section. The headline was “At Earth Day rally, it was the message that needed saving.”

Richards liked the music, but didn’t like the talking. For example: “The event’s hosts, newscaster Soledad O’Brien and Black Eyed Peas bandleader Will.I.Am, appeared to have a rough time of it. O’Brien, either frustrated by glitchy teleprompters or perhaps not clear on how a concert works, actually shushed the crowd at one point.”

O’Brien the former CNN “newscaster,” now is mostly freelancing for al-Jazeera America and its tiny viewership. On Saturday night, her latest documentary Kids Behind Bars aired on the Qatari-owned network.

Richards found the speeches very dull and dry:

The eight-hour event, which drew tens of thousands, was hosted by two partnered nonprofits, the Earth Day Network and the Global Poverty Project. The former has hosted on-and-off gatherings for Earth Day on the Mall for years, and the latter has been hosting its starry Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park for the past three. Together, their goal was to inspire a generation to renew its commitment to environmentalism and sustainable development.

But this was a long, disjointed, momentum-shunting event. Yes, there was music from No Doubt, Common and Mary J. Blige, but the performances were vastly outnumbered by dozens upon dozens of dry, unimaginative speeches. Speakers included U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, various foreign dignitaries, too many corporate sponsors and too few activists. One of the day’s oratory highlights was actor Don Cheadle explaining the dangers of lead paint.

Before the event, O'Brien told MSNBC: "I think it is a really important way to bring awareness --you guys well know because MSNBC is the broadcast partner for it -- to bring awareness that we could actually focus on solving this issue of poverty around the globe. You have to bring the public to care, the public has to put pressure on elected officials who can actually assign some money to the problem....You just gotta end extreme poverty in these countries."

AP's Brett Zongker captured the musical performers spouting platitudes about how noble the green movement's goals were.

Weasel Zippers noticed the usual green hypocrisy at the Earth Day event, all the power used and all the trash left behind. Christine Rousselle of Townhall.com tweeted: 

Environment Poverty Washington Post Chris Richards Soledad O'Brien
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