Blog: The Informed Ecologist

Archive for February, 2010

CNN’s Campbell Brown battles Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olbermann and mold

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

CNN anchor Campbell Brown has become an expert in mold. She’s had no choice.  Just before the inauguration, and after months of struggling with her baby’s unexplained illness, Campbell, her child and her husband, Dan Senor, were forced to flee their mold-ridden apartment without their belongings. “When something like this happens,” Brown told the Daily News, “you become an expert in toxic mold. But I certainly realized how fortunate that I am, in this economic climate, that we had the ability to get out. When they said, ‘You need to get your baby and get out now,’ we were able to get out.” She’s been dealing with the housing issue - she and her family have been in a hotel since January - while anchoring a nightly show during what has been a huge news cycle.

 And never once did she let her problems at home infiltrate her work. “I do think, in many ways, [work] was a diversion,” she said.  Last September, her son, Eli James (now 14 months old), developed a cold that wouldn’t end.  “It was crazy to me,” Brown said. “The doctors couldn’t figure it out. I would get home at 9:30 or 10, and he would wake himself up with these horrible coughing attacks.” But Brown noticed two days into a trip to Florida, the symptoms stopped.  Later, she spotted something on the wall of their apartment that looked odd. After some research, she was convinced it was mold - and her son was showing the symptoms of exposure. 

Mold specialists confirmed her findings and had them leave. Once they were out, her son immediately got better. “It was the not knowing - and as a mother, to know something’s wrong with your child, you instinctly feel, this wasn’t right,” she said. “Finding out, there was a great sense of relief.” Brown joined CNN in fall 2007 after an 11-year-run with NBC. She began anchoring the nightly “Election Center.” She went on maternity leave in December, and returned in March 2008 to anchor “Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull,” a nightly, hourlong show. Like most, it became focused on the election, and now the new administration and the economy. Airing at 8 p.m., the show faces Fox News‘ dominant “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Countdown” on MSNBC.  Brown said she’s had to show more of herself to be competitive in the cable news field. “You have to be willing to open yourself up a little more to find an audience,” she said, “and you have to be willing to push the envelope a little bit.” And she’s done that on-air, while dealing with turmoil off-camera.  The couple still don’t have all of their belongings back, but they expect to move into a new apartment as soon as this weekend. Brown is due with their second child in early April. Roland Martin will sub for her while she’s away. “That’s the beauty of our jobs. … you have a deadline every day,” she said of balancing work and her home crisis. “Was it a challenge? On certain days, certainly. But we have a great team of people and they’ve been really supportive.”