Kiran: My Name Is Karen

In an engaging interview of Margaret Cho of the Cho Show, American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry shared a personal experience of childhood assimilation into American culture. Cho, a comedienne of Korean descent, had said that Asian children [like herself] became more American by “ridiculing” their immigrant parents for their accents because it was so embarrassing. The Nepalese/Ukrainian beauty Kiran responded, “I know exactly what you’re saying: when I was younger–my dad is from Nepal–I used to tell people my name was Karen ’cause it was very strange to be named Kiran in elementary school.

Kiran or Karen: “A rose by any other name” is still that beautiful fragrant flower!

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32 Responses to “Kiran: My Name Is Karen”

  1. Kep Says:

    This must have been an interesting little chat. Another chance for a couple of liberal buds to get together and talk about the paradise to come in January, 2009. Margaret Cho. She’s got a loud and filthy mouth that’s made her a lot of money.

  2. boogiewoogee Says:

    Oh please. Kiran has been milking her “exotic” background for all it’s worth. Now we’re tossing Ukrainian into the mix? Her mother is an American named Nancy, and even though Kiran was born in Nepal, the family moved back here to the U.S. when she was 6 or 7 months old.

  3. jakeho Says:

    Boogiewoogee, her dad is Nepalese and her mom is half Ukrainian: They met in the Peace Corp in Nepal. You and Kep should give the lovely lass a chance.

  4. boogiewoogee Says:

    Jake, many of us come from “exotic” ancestors, but we don’t make our careers off of hyping them. Kiran moved to the U.S. as an infant and was raised in Maryland, not Katmandu.

    The “Nepalese Beauty” hype is just a gimmick. Total shtick.

  5. Tom B. Says:

    Well, with a name like ‘Kiran Chetry’ people naturally are going to inquire about her background. I don’t consider answering questions or conversing about one’s family roots on the air or in a magazine article every now and then as making a career off of it or hyping it. Her father is Nepalese, so of course there was that influence in her upbringing. Are you going to tell us that Obama being black is just a gimmick?

  6. boogiewoogee Says:

    It’s one thing if people inquire, but it’s quite another for her to constantly be referred to as “Nepalese beauty” and “Nepalese princess” and all the other appellations that are used to highlight her father’s background- especially since her mother is plain old American and she was raised here in the boring ol’ U.S. of A. since she was an infant.

    Has there ever been an article about her that didn’t refer to her as such?

    And since you asked, Tom, I think that Obama wouldn’t be anywhere near the Dem nomination for President if he weren’t black. He’s an undistinguished first-term senator who only got that far because one of the Chicago papers somehow managed to get his opponent’s sealed divorce records and publish the most salacious details.

  7. Gayle Says:

    I liked Kiran when she was on Fox but can’t stand her now…all of her liberalism has come out and it’s not appealing to me.

  8. Kep Says:

    It would be very understandable if one of Kiran’s main motiviating factors for wanting to go to CNN was the fact that there are many there who share many of the same cultural things that she does. There are so many there with foreign backgrounds. I can only guess that she is thrilled to be surrounded by people that she can identify with. At Fox, she just had a bunch of conservative Christian white men co-hosting with her, nobody that she had anything in common with. She looks much happier at CNN and has more of an easy going attitude than she ever did at Fox. She doesn’t give any dirty looks to her co-hosts at CNN!

  9. Tom B. Says:

    I actually agree with you, Boogie, on your last point. I realize my last sentence left myself open to intelligent opinion. If I could modify my last sentence I would. (In concern to Obama)

    As far as Kiran is concerned, it was not she who referred to herself as the “Nepalese beauty”. I doubt if you could consider her as the source as “milking for all it’s worth”. But as for my main point, I don’t think she has made a career out of exploiting her background. She’s a big talent on her own. She seems to as found her niche in morning news, and that’s what she seems to be…an excellent morning news anchor.

  10. Tom B. Says:

    I guess I can answer now. I’m sure she is not the one who came up with the monicker, “Nepalese Beauty.” You said she’s milking it for all it is worth. I’m saying she isn’t. Constantly referred to? Constantly? C’mon, give me a break. She’s found her niche as a morning anchor. Please, gratitously rip her some more…it’s highly entertaining.

  11. Tom B. Says:

    gratuitously! Sorry!

  12. boogiewoogee Says:

    What “cultural things” does she share with all those CNN people “with foreign backgrounds”? Her mother is American and her family moved to the boring old U.S. when she was 6 or 7 months old!

    Kiran’s cultural upbringing was in Maryland, not Katmandu! She was raised here, went to school here — even said her first words and walked for the very first time here, NOT in some exotic foreign country! Her cultural experiences are the same as everyone else of her generation who was raised in the United States.

    Her blatant liberalism may have set her apart from her former colleagues at FNC, not her father’s ethnicity.

  13. boogiewoogee Says:

    I have to disagree with you, Tom, because I think she’s an adequate talent. FNC obviously knew what they were doing in not paying through the nose to keep her (although they failed when they stuck Britney Friel in her place on F&FW last year), and she’s not exactly setting the ratings on fire at CNN.

    All I know is that every time I read something about her, it almost always mentions her ancestry. Even here, every time Jake posts about her, it’s always “the Nepalese beauty,” as if she stepped off a rickety boat from this exotic place and had to learn English and make her way in this big, fast, but bland behemoth of a nation.

  14. Kep Says:

    Nowadays, I think people considered to have “exotic” backgrounds are at a slight advantage when it comes to news and entertainment success. They may be just average when it comes to talent, but the looks combined with a family heritage that is just a little bit different than the majority of the population helps to push them to the top, something they might not have achieved otherwise. But those that have commented on the fact that she was born in Nepal but didn’t spend enough time there to even remember it are correct. I think I remember Kiran saying that she came to the USA when she was around 6 weeks old. I may have read other accounts that put it at a few months and not weeks, but still, at that age, you don’t remember much. I don’t see anything wrong with mentioning your heritage, but sometimes I feel that people in the public eye like to use things like this to their advantage, because it makes for a good story and sets you apart from a lot of the others. When I mentioned that Kiran shared a lot more culturally with her CNN co-workers than any of those that she worked with at Fox, I meant that there are many more people of mixed ethnicities there, people with mothers and fathers that are natives of other nations, with broken english and different religions. Kiran can probably identify much more with that than what many of us would consider the ideal, average American family. That’s the point I was trying to get across. But I do get a kick out of how she talks about the difficulties she had with her name, Kiran, and the fact that she would tell people her name was Karen instead. Seems like a minor challenge when compared to the problems some kids have growing up.

    I think most viewers knew Kiran was liberal when she was at Fox, although what I witnessed seemed somewhat more subtle than the unabashed liberalism that she has displayed now that she’s in the comfortable surroundings of CNN.

  15. boogiewoogee Says:

    You make some good points, Kep. But while Kiran’s ancestry is mixed, I don’t think her appearance is out of the ordinary, in terms of unusual ethnicit. She’s very pretty, but she doesn’t look like she comes from someplace exotic. Maybe it’s just because we’re from New York City, but she doesn’t stand out that way for either of us.

    Having been brought up here since infancy and not looking all that “different,” I don’t agree that she has more in common with the multitudes of multi-racial people at CNN (we don’t watch CNN, so we’ll take your word that it’s an ethnic melting pot) than with the rest of us boring, plain generic folk (although I’ll point out that the female member of the Boogiewoogee clan claims some pretty obscure ancestry, from both Estonia and Central Asia, and has a first name that nobody in her elementary schooling had ever heard of before).

  16. Kep Says:

    Boogiewoogee, You don’t watch CNN, so I’ll fill you in. The airwaves there are full of people with foreign accents and mixed backgrounds. They also have a lot of African Americans. With a very few exceptions, Fox is mostly all caucasian, no accents and very few with mixed backgrounds. And as a matter of fact, I think Kiran said that she and Alina Cho were like sisters. I bet they share lots of things in common, at least relating to the fact that they both have Eastern backgrounds. CNN also has many on camera people who are older than your average tv news babe. They claim no bias there, and even instruct each and every employee who works for them that they are not to discuss any issue or story that CNN covers with friends, family, blogs, editorials, etc., etc., etc. They want a total reputation of non-partisanship and transparency. Do I believe it? Heck no. The stories they choose to cover and the way they are covered shouts bias loud and clear.

    Getting back to Kiran and her heritage. She did an interview last year, it was either with East-West Magazine or one of those online things with a Nepalese publication. Anyhow, she mentioned that there was not a large representation of Asians, or Asian Americans, in the news media. She then went on to say that CNN had a very large number working for them, which she said was “interesting”. She also made the point that she didn’t necessarily think that the lack of hiring of Asians in top media jobs was intentional. It’s interesting that most all of her media coverage since going to CNN has been with publications that deal with Asian/Eastern issues and people. Oh, she did have that nice baby photo exclusive with OK mag, but other than that, she hasn’t had much coverage from mainstream media outlets. I’ve always felt that Kiran is a person who loves diversity, and she certainly is in a diversity filled world over at CNN. The only exception to the diversity may come into play when you consider the politics and social beliefs of those who populate the CNN newsrooms. I’m sure they sniff out the conservatives before they ever get close to signing on the dotted line there.

    I think Kiran will stay at CNN for a long time, unless she gets an offer from ABC, CBS or NBC. I’m sure those networks have their eyes on her at this point. She is comfortable with the agenda of the dinosaur media, at least that’s become clear to me, and the more relaxed atmosphere of the broadcast network morning shows would be perfect for Kiran.

  17. boogiewoogee Says:

    Thanks for the info, Kep.

    I think it’s sort of funny that she’s playing up the Asian angle, when (as we’ve repeatedly said) she doesn’t look Asian (or exotic) and was raised here from the time she was an infant. Because of my father’s work, we were living in a very bad neighborhood when I was born, but we moved out when I was less than a year old. I have no recollection of living there and it hasn’t affected my life since, and people are actually surprised when I tell them where I was born, because I am so unlike what people normally think of when they think of that neighborhood.

    Nobody looks at Kiran and thinks “There’s an Asian lady!” as they obviously would with Alina Cho (I didn’t know who she is, so I Googled her – pretty!), so we stand by the belief that Kiran is milking it. “Look at ME! I’m an exotic minority! LOOK AT MEEEEEEEE!”

    I agree that she’ll probably stay at CNN for a long time, but only because they suck so much that her abymal ratings don’t matter anyway – although we wonder what it means that her current show’s ratings did spike when she was out for maternity leave. But we don’t see her getting offers from the networks, because she’s not that great. Kiran is OK (competent, attractive), but she’s not all that. Is she even going to cover the political conventions? We haven’t seen her name anywhere associated with that.

  18. Kep Says:

    boogie, I’m sure AM will be at the Democrat and Republican Conventions. John Roberts will no doubt be on location for the duration of both of them, and while I would expect Kiran to be there as well, she probably won’t be on location for the whole time like Roberts. Besides, Roberts is the big politico. He has all these sources and connections in political circles, and I don’t know how much of that Kiran has acquired since being at CNN. I think Soledad O’Brien, John King, Campbell Brown, Anderson Cooper and others are going to be the heavy hitters in prime time during the conventions for CNN.

    I read somewhere that Kiran’s parents are of different religions, with her dad being Hindu and her mom a Christian. Kiran says she was raised as a Christian but greatly respects the Hindu religion. I would have to think it would be difficult to raise children with the two parents having totally different belief systems when it comes to religion and their faith.

    I have to disagree about other networks not being interested in Kiran. Look at how fast CNN signed Kiran. They had her on American Morning the very next day before the ink was even dry, and she appeared again as co-host of Anderson Cooper 360 that night. The woman had just left a network where she had resided for nearly 7 years, but the moment she showed up on CNN, it was as if she had never worked at Fox. She never batted an eyelash or missed a beat during the whole whirlwind event. Goes to show you that her loyalty and kinship to Fox was nearly non-existent. There was notoriety to be had and money to be made. After all, that’s what it’s all about.

  19. jakeho Says:

    Kep, after the way Kiran was treated by FNC, should she have remained loyal to it?

  20. Kep Says:

    jakeho, Kiran hired a bigshot Hollywood agent to bully the Fox News people into giving her the Fox and Friends main co-hostess position. She was not entitled to a guarantee for that slot. I believe she became a little bit too full of herself, hired this agent who’s roster of clients includes the biggest Hollywood stars who make millions and are known the world over. And who was she? The girl on Fox and Friends Weekend with the too short skirts. She overreached and got tossed. I think the disloyalty came from her end, not Fox News. It appears that being a team player was not on her priority list. So, let me get this straight-it was okay for Kiran to waltz into CNN and take Soledad O’Brien’s job, but it wasn’t okay for Fox to grab up Gretchen and give her that center chair? At least Gretchen had been with Fox for a year or two, whereas Chetry had only been with CNN for two months before she got the starring role. I hate to see people in the media become like this. Kiran seemed like a genuine, humble type of person for her first few years at Fox, but something changed along the way. That’s too bad.

  21. Tom B. Says:

    I agree with you guys here that there is a certain “LOOK AT MEEE” quality when it comes to Kiran. But, I’ll say it again (sorry if I sound like a broken record), I just don’t see the milking of this minority stuff by her. You guys know the liberal media. Any chance to exploit this kind of angle and they’re all over it. When they cover Kiran, of course they’re going to resort to this. Soledad O’Brien milks this minority stuff for all that it worth, but I don’t see Chetry doing it nearly as much, if at all.

  22. Tom B. Says:

    Hi Jake. Can you end the moderation of the comments on this site? Everybody seems adult-like and I don’t know but you seem to allow all comments to go through. When I want to post a response to someone I want it to be timely! I assume every other poster wants the same.

    I love this site, it’s the best.

  23. boogiewoogee Says:

    Kep, we have yet to see her name associated with any convention coverage.

    As for CNN snapping her right up, that’s because they thought they’d be “stealing” one from FNC, but her ratings have cratered and remained low. Given her liberal leanings, maybe her agent made overtures to CNN. No matter who contacted whom first, it’s obvious that CNN thought they’d get the drooling males who watched her at FNC, but we see how that worked out, didn’t we?

    Lots of people are raised in 2-religion households, but most of them don’t try to turn that into a career. Some of us are raised in families with one religion, but a rather uncommon one, and we don’t try to make a career out of that.

    But we agree that she was an entitled snake in her dealings with FNC.

  24. jakeho Says:

    Kep, Kiran showed no disloyalty in trying to reach a favorable contract. As to “bullying” Fox News, I can hardly see substance to that claim with the likes of media giant Roger Ailes and titan Rupert Murdoch on the other side. After opting not to renew Kiran’s contract and inexplicably bringing in Gretchen instead, FNC unceremoniously cut Kiran loose and reportedly also had her escorted by security from the building. Then it snubbed Kiran’s many fans by not even acknowledging her departure from F&FW and F&FF. FNC’s treatment of Kiran and her admirers was the not the best way to engender loyalty and good will.

    As to CNN, it recognized Kiran’s star quality and snatched up her immediately. F&F hasn’t been the same since: only now is F&FW beginning to get its sea legs again.

  25. jakeho Says:

    Tom B., thanks for the kind words as to this site. I, too, want the comments of you and other readers to be timely, and I would love to be able to follow your suggestion. Regrettably, some posters have not allowed me to take this tack yet. Hopefully, that will change.

  26. boogiewoogee Says:

    Jake, trying to negotiate a good contract is one thing, trying to demand that another employee be fired so that you can have their job is crappy. And if that really did happen, then she deserved to be dropped right away and she did not deserve any special goodbye on F&FW. That treachery is why they “opted not to renew” her contract.

    She’s such a fan favorite that almost nobody followed her to CNN, where her ratings reside in the basement. You may think that giving Gretchen the center seat on F&F is “inexplicable,” but the ratings say that FNC did the right thing. Obviously her “many fans” weren’t motivated enough to pick up the remote and switch to CNN in order to watch her.

    How come AM’s ratings actually ROSE when Kiran went on maternity leave?

    As for F&FW post-Kiran, my favorite iteration of the show was the Greg-Page-Kelly grouping. Liberal leanings aside, we felt that Kiran was competent and attractive enough, but she came across as an ice queen with a very high opinion of herself. Very snooty.

  27. jakeho Says:

    Boogiewoogee, Kiran’s side denied FNC’s slant. As to any ratings increase during that time, you failed to mention the heightened heat of the Democratic campaign, a soaring Obamamania, and the Dems boycott of FNC, Furthermore, just recently, a Kiran-led AM beat F&F for the key demographic.

  28. boogiewoogee Says:

    Of course Kiran’s side denied that they demanded someone be fired so that Kiran could take her place. Admitting that would ruin what’s left of her career.

    The Dems’ boycott of FNC pretty much fizzled, and I think it may have occurred before her maternity leave. CNN wasn’t the only place to get info about the Democrats’ campaign, and BSNBC seems to have staked its position as Obama Central.

    Even if all that you claim is true, then why did ratings fall again when she returned?

    “Key demographic” isn’t really all that important, especially since FNC charges cable companies FAR more per viewer than the other cable news channels, and THAT is what counts in the end. “Key demo” info is becoming more and more obsolete. Also, the main co-hosts of F&F have all taken turns being on vacation for most of the summer, yet they still beat all the others in overall ratings.

    We here believe that Kiran is dull and very full of herself.

  29. Kep Says:

    There is always going to be debate about what actually went down in Kiran’s final days at Fox, but I tend to lean more towards the thought that Kiran probably suffered from an inflated ego and that is what ultimately lead to her being drop kicked by Roger Ailes. I also think her liberal ideology and constant glances at herself in the monitor didn’t help her case any.

    As far as ratings go for AM, they greatly fluctuate. This past week, they’ve had 2-3 days of over 400,000 viewers, with a couple of others down in the 300,000+ range. Kiran is pretty much getting the status quo in total viewers when you look at the ratings history for AM during the past couple of years, going back to before she worked for CNN. I do think that the demo has fallen, though. I don’t think, at least not so far, that CNN has gotten the ratings boost from Kiran that they believed they would. They could have kept Soledad and Miles and still would have been in the 350,000-450,000 range for viewers. This is a big election year, and there’s no way the ratings would fall any lower than that, no matter who is hosting. I really do think that some CNN viewers are skeptical of Kiran, just because she did come from Fox. If they never watched her there, they wouldn’t know that she is on their side and not one of the right wingers. Just the fact that she worked for Fox for 6 years is enough for some lefties to tune out. The Fox people do the same with CNN. One thing about Kiran being escorted out by security when she was booted by the Fox people. This is pretty much routine protocol; this is done whenever someone is let go by one of these networks. It protects the former employee as much as it does the former employer.

  30. Gayle Says:

    Jakeho, you make it sound like Kiran was the only one that left Fox without the network acknowledging that she was gone…what about the ones we don’t see anymore and we don’t know if they are still at Fox or not..Paige, Kimberly, Daria,E.D., and many others. I think Paige is a much better anchor than Kiran and E.D. is by a mile. I am sure you won’t agree because they are older and don’t show as much skin.

  31. Kep Says:

    It will be interesting to see how AM covers the Rick Warren Saddleback Church forum that he had with McCain and Obama over the weekend. Will Chetry and Roberts spin it into a big success for Obama? Will they bother to mention Obama’s attempt to quote a biblical passage from the Book of Matthew? “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.” Obama cites great regret that this nation does not abide better by this Bible passage. Then he turns around and says he’s for unfettered abortion. How does this tie in with Chetry, you say. Well, in the past, I’ve picked up on what I think is a pro-abortion stance on her part. Appearing to ridicule Justice Sam Alito’s mother cause she said her son was pro-life, looking upset and ticked off when Hillary Clinton’s abortion views were being discussed with Napolitano and Doocy, and grilling Senator McCain about why his party only had one pro-choicer running for President during the primaries, that being Rudy Giuliani. Remember, Kiran is the same woman who gets visibly upset over the slightest painful transgression being made towards lobsters, birds, dogs, and who knows what else that may slither and crawl. Typical liberal, and one of the reasons why I think conservatives at Fox were turned off by her to some degree. So, it will be interesting to see if this part of the forum is even mentioned on AM. They wouldn’t want to make Obama appear to be a hypocrite.

    And a comment on those who disappear from the Fox airwaves with no explanation being made as to their whereabouts-yes, it has happened to others besides Kiran. I do vaguely remember Greg Kelly making a small mention about Kiran on that first weekend after she left Fox, but that was it. This also happens at CNN. It’s a harsh business, and anybody expecting roses and chocolates as they head out the door is in for a big surprise.

  32. tiamatsrevenge Says:

    I preferred Soledad O’Brien when she was on “CNET Tv” … It was a tv show all about computers and the internet …

    She couldn’t show she was a liberal … except in her overabundance of Frisco luv …

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