CBS News has announced new reporters and associate producers for its 2020 presidential election team. But there wasn’t a single Black person among the team of 12. And as this appears to be a trend in the US media, people weren’t impressed.
CBS News claims:
We are embracing political reporting now more than ever.
And according to its political director Caitlin Conant, the number of applicants was high. She said:
we were thrilled to see unprecedented interest in joining the political unit this cycle
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This had people wondering why none of the successful applicants were Black people.
Pointing out the obvious
So the response on social media was perfect. People were absolutely shocked:
Looking for the people that look like me pic.twitter.com/3KPIY3bzOw
— #IRespectDaFuckOuttaKaepernick7 (@Spanky2345) January 12, 2019
No Black correspendents or APs to help you guys out? https://t.co/ONH5UzRzT6
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) January 13, 2019
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, shocked that this is still happening in the USA, posted:
This WH admin has made having a functional understanding of race in America one of the most important core competencies for a political journalist to have, yet @CBSNews hasn’t assigned a *single* black journalist to cover the 2020 election.
Unacceptable in 2019. Try again. https://t.co/h7tmiBr9Fi
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 13, 2019
Another said that despite the high number of Black graduate journalists, they aren’t getting into US newsrooms:
10s of thousands of black journalists and related majors graduating each semester, not to mention entire universities of black people graduating journalists, the military retiring thousands of black officers and NCOs available 2 B correspondents. BUT @CBSNews can't find 1? BS
— Roderick Duncan (@duncanrod) January 13, 2019
Under-representation of Black people in US media
As there was “unprecedented interest in joining” the CBS team, this should mean jobs for Black journalists too. But it didn’t.
Not only Black people
The representation of women of colour in the US media is also poor. A 2018 study from the Women’s Media Centre (WMC) found that despite women being in the majority and people of colour making up almost 40% of the population, the “U.S. media does not look like, sound like, or reflect” this diversity.
Or Native American/Indigenous
— Sandy Grande (@RedPedGrl) January 13, 2019
Over 55M Americans identify as Hispanics and 54% of Americans are over the age of 35. @CBSNews this group does not begin to be representative of your potential audience.
— Virginia Pino (@virginiacpino) January 13, 2019
Change is long overdue
While understandable, responses like “unacceptable in 2019” don’t tell the whole story. Excluding Black people, or anybody based on ethnicity, was and is always wrong. So it seems clear the mainstream doesn’t want to change.
Featured image via John H Boyd / Wikimedia
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