CBS 2020 Black journalists jesse kelly


Black journalists school conservative writer over CBS 2020 election team

It made for some very bad takes.


Ellen Ioanes


Posted on Jan 14, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 9:36 pm CDT

CBS came under fire this weekend after it announced its 2020 coverage lineup—with no Black reporters or producers in sight.

CBS associate producer Ben Mitchell first tweeted the lineup on Friday, saying, It’s Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled!”

Twitter users were quick to notice that the team didn’t include any Black journalists.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) got involved, tweeting, “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.”

Meanwhile, conservative radio host and writer Jesse Kelly critiqued the backlash to CBS’ 2020 lineup.

“People are dragging CBS for not having enough black people, but has anyone considered the obvious explanation that many black people have no interest in journalism? Cultures are different and value different things. Doesn’t make CBS the KKK.”

Kelly then cited statistics about the demographics of journalism majors, without citing his source or providing context, like the fact that journalism programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, can be incredibly expensive, and journalism doesn’t pay particularly well.

Black journalists weren’t having it.

Journalist Imani Gandy weighed in with a pointed takedown.

The Columbia Journalism Review has explored the issue of diversity in newsrooms. It’s a documented problem, and it’s historically led to poor coverage of, or complete ignorance about, issues like lynching, the Civil Rights movement, and voter suppression.

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*First Published: Jan 14, 2019, 10:45 am CST