Soledad O’Brien to Host “Hard Truth About Bias” Race and Justice Conversations

We need to understand how each of us participates in creating biases and stereotypes and own our responsibility to dismantle the
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On Thursday, October 8 at 7 p.m. ET, the urgent conversation about race, equality and justice will be the focus of a live, multimedia, interactive forum across many of America’s most familiar media brands with the debut of “The Hard Truth About Bias: Images and Reality.”

The one-hour digital program, originating from New York and featuring a wide array of topic leaders from across the nation, is a special project of Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, the Hearst Television public affairs program, now among the most watched weekend issues talk shows in the country.

“The Hard Truth About Bias: Images and Reality” is the first installment of the Matter of Fact Listening Tour, with a series of quarterly virtual forums to be presented in 2021. The initiative harnesses the combined digital platforms of Hearst’s consumer media brands to livestream the presentation, including 33 television stations, newspapers around the country, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News and Times Union (Albany, New York), as well as many of the world’s most popular magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping and Marie Claire. The program will also stream on Matter of Fact’s website, YouTube and Facebook Live channels.

“This is a critical conversation for our country, and we are proud to launch this project, expanding the Matter of Fact brand and leveraging journalism resources from across the company,” said Hearst President and CEO Steven R. Swartz. “The talented, diverse team bringing this project to life is taking on important topics with insightful guests to provide viewers with a range of valuable perspectives.”

“The Hard Truth About Bias: Images and Reality” will feature conversations about the relationship of race and privilege, racial stress, the impact of bias in the images and language in our daily news and information, and the creation of stereotypes and how they influence the way we think. A special segment will revisit the landmark 1968 Esquire interview with legendary novelist, playwright, essayist, poet and activist James Baldwin. In addition, the presentation will include a segment bringing together individuals involved in recent public confrontations that have gone viral.

“The first step toward understanding each other is to listen to each other, especially when it comes to the issue of race,” said O’Brien. “We need to hear from people of different perspectives so we can bring the challenges of equality and justice into full view where they can be scrutinized, confronted and addressed. We need to understand how each of us participates in creating biases and stereotypes and own our responsibility to dismantle them.”

For “The Hard Truth About Bias: Images and Reality,” O’Brien will talk with a wide cross section of guests, including well-known names and emerging voices from the worlds of academia, journalism, sports, entertainment and other aspects of American society. She and her guests will also respond to audience questions in the last segment, entitled “Matter of Fact: After the Fact.”

Guests scheduled for “The Hard Truth About Bias” include (in alphabetical order):

Mahzarin Banaji, Ph.D., Professor of Social Ethics, Harvard University

Genesis Be, musical artist and activist

Brenda White Bull, great, great granddaughter of Lakota leader Sitting Bull

Joie Chen, Matter of Fact journalist

Trae Crowder, writer and comedian

Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D., Affiliate Associate Professor of Education, University of Washington

Jennifer Eberhardt, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Stanford University

Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter co-founder

Eddie Glaude, Ph.D., Chair of the Center for African-American Studies, Princeton University

Jemele Hill, VICE journalist

Wes Lowery, CBS News journalist

Alfred Martin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Media Studies, The University of Iowa

Mia Mask, Ph.D., Professor of Film, Vassar College

Wes Moore, CEO, the Robin Hood Foundation

Rashawn Ray, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland

John Ridley, Oscar-winning screenwriter

Michael Sebastian, Esquire editor-in-chief

Etan Thomas, ESPN Radio host and former NBA player

Dorothy Tucker, WBBM-TV, president of the National Association of Black Journalists

“With her intelligently conversational style and deep commitment to these issues, no one is better suited to moderate and facilitate such an important program as Soledad,” said Hearst Television President Jordan Wertlieb. “Utilizing the broad resources of Hearst, ‘The Hard Truth About Bias’ will be a very thoughtful and impactful program during this important time of social change.”

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