Journalist Soledad O’Brien isn’t just worried about the number of Blacks on President Donald Trump‘s senior White House staff, she’s also concerned about the lack of Black senior editors in cable news.
O’Brien, a former CNN anchor, took to Twitter earlier this week to respond to a recent CNN report declaring that Trump has zero African-Americans on his senior staff since the firing of former aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman. Manigault-Newman was the highest ranking Black American on the president’s cabinet before her exit in February, when she served as Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison.
While everyone’s still buzzing about the lack of Blackness in the White House, O’Brien put her former employer to task, blasting CNN about the scarcity of Black senior staff.
Fans lauded the journalist for using her platform to stress the importance of Black voices and leadership in the newsroom.
“Soledad the way you throw big-time BODY BLOWS, you MUST have taken boxing classes!” one user joked. ” … Silliness aside: I deeply appreciate your using your clout to help bring attention to the absurdity of the sparcity|absence of senior black staff at @CNNPolitics and @CNN …”
Another critic pointed to the alleged use of “white supremacist talking points” by NPR, accusing the public news radio network of helping white nationalists rather than reporting on their “evil deeds.”
“We need more voices at the top all over media from nondominant people-groups,” they wrote.
Citing data from the American Society of News Editors, a 2017 NPR report revealed that nationally, Black, Latino and Asian women account for less than five percent of newsroom personnel and print and online news outlets. Many local newsrooms remain largely white and are typically led by white men.
According to the report, “The result for many journalists of color, even at the top of their game is a fraught isolation and blatant stereotyping.” It noted that between 2009 and 2015, the number of Black women in newsrooms fell from 1,181 to 730, while the number of Latina women dropped from 840 to 584. Asian American women also saw a decrease, dropping from 758 to 466, the data showed.
As for CNN specifically, the news giant has yet to respond to O’Brien’s inquiry. Its latest diversity numbers couldn’t be found online.