Even as CNN is a network highly critical of President Trump and other conservatives on issues of race and diversity, the network has come under fire by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), which has said that CNN doesn’t hire or promote black employees for senior staff roles in its uppermost ranks.
“NABJ says that it’s concerned about the findings of preliminary research that reveals the following:
- CNN president Jeff Zucker has no black direct reports.
- There are no black executive producers at CNN.
- There are no black vice presidents on the news side at CNN.
- There are no black senior vice presidents on the news side at CNN.”
However, per Katz, “What NABJ left out of its memo is that CNN happens to be the only cable news network to have a black host in prime time: CNN Tonight host Don Lemon. The longtime CNN newser praised Zucker during an interview with Adweek last month.”
Katz reported that NABJ reports that its delegates “are already engaged in very positive outreach with several other media companies and have met or have scheduled meetings with Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC, adding: ‘NABJ believes those companies see the value in such meetings and appreciates the respect those companies are showing for the positive intent of our efforts.’”
Katz also reports that CNN officials have been unwilling to meet with a delegation of four NABJ representatives because that group included Roland Martin.
“For months, we have been working with NABJ to schedule a meeting because the relationship between CNN and NABJ is very important to us,” CNN said in a statement to Katz. “As we have told them many times, we look forward to a thoughtful discussion about how both of our organizations can continue to work together.
“Unfortunately, the significant and reckless damage that Roland Martin did to CNN while partnering with us during a 2016 Democratic Town Hall has made any meeting that includes him untenable. Mr. Martin displayed an unprecedented and egregious lack of journalistic ethics and integrity by leaking questions prior to the town hall. As a result, we have told NABJ that CNN will not participate in any meeting that includes him. We have made it abundantly clear that we would be more than happy to sit down with the rest of their leadership team as soon as possible, and that offer still stands.”
However, regardless of whether an NABJ delegation includes an external figure like Martin, this in no way affects CNN’s existing internal hiring or promotional choices. The question is whether CNN will cease to attack conservatives for lack of diversity without acknowledging the network itself is facing its own reported problems with diversity.