In July, Mike Arrington received an interview request from CNN about startups and accelerators. The pitch was glorifying; it called Mike Arrington God and TechCrunch The Bible.The interview would be for a documentary hosted by Soledad O’Brien. Arrington says he usually turns down interviews, but AOL encouraged him to participate.
When he sat down, Arrington says Soledad threw him for a loop. Instead of asking about accelerators or startups in general, she asked about minority-focused ones. In particular, she wanted to know who Arrington’s favourite African American entrepreneur was.
“I thought about it, and I drew a complete blank. Nothing. So I answered honestly. “I don’t know a single black entrepreneur,“ I said,” writes Arrington on Uncrunched.
“It’s awesome that I don’t have a f*cking perfect sound bite ready at the tip of my tongue for a question like that.”
“See, my brain database doesn’t categorize people in terms of skin colour. Or hair colour. Or sexual orientation. When I queried that database, under stressful circumstances, I got zero results.”
Later in the 45-minute interview, Arrington says he recovered. He recalled friends who were black entrepreneurs and spoke highly of them, but none of that made it into the clip CNN had on its front page yesterday.
What’s more, Arrington says CNN seemed to take pride in catching him off guard. “Soledad told me afterwards how much she loved that killer question,” writes Arrington. “‘Everyone pulls a blank, it’s perfect,'” she said. No one she interviewed had any idea that the real topic was about minority entrepreneurs.”
For more about what happened, head over to Uncrunched >>