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Lisa Ling loves digging into America’s issues on OWN

Lisa Ling CREDIT: AP

Lisa Ling CREDIT: AP

In some circles, Lisa Ling is best known as that Asian-American woman who was on “The View” and isn’t Lucy Liu. But Ling left that chat show nearly a decade ago.

Since then, she has pursued what she really loves: serious, in-depth journalism.

You can now see her every Sunday night on “Our America With Lisa Ling” on the new OWN network where she tackles subjects ranging from sex offenders to transgendered people to online brides. She is currently in her second season, having already aired hours focused on amateur porn (with time in Georgia) and modern polygamy.

Next up this Sunday: sex trafficking, followed later by an hour a week later on post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans.

She is also doing a piece on African-Americans in prison, spending time in Georgia.

“I don’t want people to watch this and be aghast by the numbers,” she said earlier this month after she spoke at the O You! conference at the Georgia World Congress Center. “I want people to recognize as a society that we continue to close doors on people. On every application, we ask people if they’ve ever been convicted of a felony.”

“Who wants to hire someone with a prison record?” she continued. “As a culture, we sentence people for life even after they’ve done their time.”

She believes in forgiveness and providing job skills and opportunities to reduce recidivism. “We have more people locked up than any other country,” she said.

Before joining OWN, Ling did international stories for National Geographic. Her focus now is domestic. “In some ways,” she said, “the shows on OWN have made a bigger impact on me because they’re happening within our borders.”

She enjoys tackling stories in a way that isn’t sensationalistic or judgmental, even if the people themselves have done horrendous things. The sex offenders, she admitted, were the most challenging to empathize with and the toughest episode for her to do to date. “We treat people with dignity,” she said.

Her style is very empathetic, introspective and low key. “I’ve never had more creative freedom,” she said. “I don’t think I’d be able to do this anywhere but OWN.”

Not surprisingly, Ling has nothing but praise for Oprah herself: “It’s been incredible. She’s so active. She sees all my shows and offers suggestions and notes. I’m grateful to be able to work with one of the greatest storytellers of our time.”

She has worked with CNN doing free-lance work in the past. She admires the Atlanta-based news organization for its efforts to remain a non-biased source of news in the face of what she calls “the loudest voices on TV.”

“I’m so happy it exists,” she said. But “it’s hard to compete.”

And she’s also a fan of CBS’s sturdy “60 Minutes” and NPR.

Ling’s work life is so serious, she does Bikram Yoga to reduce stress, which involves yoga in 110-degree heat.  Her favorite TV shows? “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO and ABC’s “Modern Family.” Though her tolerance for reality programming is low, she enjoys “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “American Idol.” (She’s a fan of Daughtry.)

On TV

“Our America With Lisa Ling,” Sundays at 10 p.m. OWN

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

3 comments Add your comment

Nolita Oliveira

October 29th, 2011
6:22 pm

Last year my husband who is the U.S. Army was stationed in Korea and met a woman online. The day I questioned why his facebook said antonio.carla. oliveira, he literally went to the atm’s and drained every account empty and leaving them in the negatives. He had cut off all support to fly to New Jersey to meet her and marry her through the Portuguese Council there. One entire year has gone by and the military has seen fit to completly disregard a Judges award for alimony and Child support. Unless forced to he has only sent his children $200 while supporting that other woman. I had investigated into the matter and came up with run arounds. this is not new in the military and it is about time someone speaks up for spouses, female and male, who are totally thrown away for the sake of another person. They are left caring for children ALONE and abandoned at whatever base they are at. Company commanders rarely give a damn about the family, especially if they are over seas and this is simply unacceptable. When it comes to holding the soldier accountable, they look the other way. Well, who makes these soldiers accountable for their actions, its about time the wronged spouse left caring for the kids ALONE do. Here is a link that I was fortunate enough to view of him meeting his new wife for the first time, mind you CBS refused to acknowledge all my emails I sent them, asking where they got their information and why they never investigated before going public. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/12/25/soldier-returns-home-to-newark-for-christmas/
I plan on going public and making him a poster board to end this cover up happening in the military and how far they will go into covering up soldiers and their infidelity. Please contact me. Sincerly, Fed Up

Morgan L Morris

October 31st, 2011
12:30 am

I am glad to see someone is showing the real issues that we have in America. I hope you will also do a show on the VA hospital of what the VETS have to go through to get surgery and 6 to 8 weeks just to get temporary disability and they told me I will have to be delinquent on my bills to speed up the process and make my credit to go bad. They gave 0% on my ankle and this is my second surgery and I had to go to work every day and work with a hurt foot to make living for one year. It seems like they discourage you to use the system.

Val Thomas

October 31st, 2011
6:14 pm

I am watching the 3am show my daughter has been lured by a predator named Joseph Sterling.He waited til she turned 18 in Aug and took her and a friend.I have rescued her friend,but my daughter is so brainwashed by him and thinks she is in love.They now have tattoos that say his Bonnie and her Clyde…After watching this show I am even more sick to my stomach.My daughter grew up with a loveing mother and grandmother and brother.They are the ones who suffer when parents divorce,i think it’s the male attention.I see this pimp as a pedophile that should burn in Hell.I can’t get any help i even called the FBI they flat out told me mam your not the victim your daughter will have to call us.He has moved her around from Miami ,Raleigh n.c,Washington DC,Detroit Mich,Pittsburg Pn..etcHe has promised her a condo a convertible her own salon etc ….I’ve been told she will have to want to come home or she will just leave again since he has so much control………..I almost had her twice and he text her while she was on the bus and got her back in nashville.I would love to meet with Tina. Thanks