California Rep. Maxine Waters met with the CBS Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity to discuss the lack of diversity, as well as inclusion, within the media industry.
The meeting comes after CBS released its list of reporters who will be covering the 2020 presidential election – a list that is dominated by a majority of white reporters. The list includes four white producers, five white-passing reporters and three journalists of color. There were no Black anchors hired for the reporting staff.
During the meetup, Waters highlighted several issues with the campaign staff’s lack of diversity, noting that someone will need to tackle racism within elections. Additionally, Waters mentioned how important it is to report the role racism has played in the United States since its beginning.
“The CBS representatives accepted full responsibility and understood the troubling optics– and subsequent public backlash — that occurred as a result of the rollout of their 2020 presidential election team. CBS admitted that the initial 2020 campaign team did not reflect the diversity that the company had committed to; assured me that it will not happen again; and revealed that in the coming months they will unveil a more diverse and inclusive slate of African American journalists and journalists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,” Waters said in a press statement.
“They also identified key individuals in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY whom they have brought onto their team to fulfill this mission and ensure their news organization reflects the diversity of the country and the communities who will most certainly be engaged in the 2020 elections.”
Waters is promising she will be responsible for making sure CBS works on its issues with diversity and will be partnering with her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus to do so.