CBS News Slammed for Lack of African-Americans on Political ‘Embed’ Team

Variety | 1/11/2019 | Cynthia Littleton
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CBS News has come under fire for a lack of African-Americans among its core team of on-the-ground reporters and producers set to cover the 2020 presidential campaign cycle.

Criticism of CBS News began to build during the weekend after associate producer Ben Mitchell tweeted a title card featuring images of CBS News’ “political embed unit,” composed of eight 2020 campaign reporters and four associate producers, including himself. The group does not include any African-Americans in either role. Among the eight reporters, four are persons of color: Musadiq Bidar, a native of Afghanistan, Alex Tin, Jack Turman and Stephanie Ramirez. CBS News is still in the process of assembling its on-air correspondent team for the election.

Christopher - Isham - CBS - News - Washington

Christopher Isham, CBS News’ Washington bureau chief, called the group its “our boots on the ground for the 2019-2020 election cycle” in announcing on Friday an increase in politically-focused reporters and newsgathering resources for the upcoming presidential race. The unit is designed to deepen CBS News’ coverage of federal and local issues and personalities on the 2020 trail.

CBS News noted that the embed team represented only a portion of its broader election coverage plans. Lorna Jones, who is African-American, was promoted last month to the role of managing editor for Washington news coverage. And the division has long had other prominent African-American women in senior management roles.

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