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Oprah, Univision ... Univision, Oprah

Dec 10, 2007

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Michel Martin

This will be quick because we have a lot in the works — Oprah, Univision ... Univision, Oprah.

Trying to channel that bad David Letterman joke from the Oscars a few years back ("Oprah, Uma"), but I can already tell it's falling flat.

We faced a dilemma this morning. There was important new data about an increase in the teen pregnancy rate and we wanted to give some attention to that report. It's the kind of story I just don't think you can toss off in a sentence or two. We decided we HAD to hear from a numbers person, a person who works in the community and a teen. But, there were ALSO two significant (we thought) political stories over the weekend — the GOP debate on Spanish-language network Univision Sunday night, and Oprah Winfrey's appearance on behalf of White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama. We also had the interview with Zelma Redding planned because today is the 40th anniversary of the tragic death of her husband — the great Otis Redding. (He was only 26 when his plane crashed killing everybody on board with the exception of two band members.)

So what do we do?

We decided to lead the program with a recap of the Univision debate, our logic was this: everything we could tell you about Oprah today was exactly what we could tell you on Friday, which was that huge crowds are expected (29,000!), but nobody knows what it really means for the Obama campaign. Whereas, with the Univision debate, the Republican presidential contenders who have taken such a hard line on illegal immigration had to face an audience fare more sympathetic than most in a state critical to their hopes for general election victory. Plus, it was an opportunity to introduce a new voice to you — Luis Clemons, Editor of CandidatoUSA, an online publication to track the Latino political scene. I think you'll agree he's somebody we want to hear from again.

I'm still missing Oprah, but I am left feeling like we'll know more about what her appearance really means once we have some numbers or see some results. Maybe I'm rationalizing, but at least you know what our thinking was/is.

I am sure there will be lots of opinions about our interview with "Makaiya" (that is obviously a pseudonym). We decided, with consultation, that it was best not to use her real name because she is underage (17) and not under the care of an adult guardian at the moment. All I can say is that there is more to say ... and we wish her the best.

I also want to point out the interview with Zelma. We didn't have time to get into all of her business but one thing you should know is that, in contrast to the sad story we so often hear — musical genius left a pauper by bad planning, bad advice, and so on — not true here. Otis left his family significant property. A good thing, too, because Zelma was only 24 when he died ... with three small children. How she coped? We'll never really know. But she gave us a few hints, and one of them was that she seems to dearly cherish the memory of her husband and his music, which we all cherish today. That was a treat...

Now, we have some figuring out to do for tomorrow — a major Supreme Court case ruling on crack cocaine sentencing, and the sentencing of suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. (If we decide to pursue that story I'll need to get sub host in here because, as you know, my husband is representing him.)

We have a lot of think about so let's get to it.

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