Thursday, May 26, 2022

NABJ Says CNN Refuses Meeting Because of ‘Personal Issue’ with Roland Martin

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Roland Martin and Bevy Smith attend the National CARES Mentoring Movement 4th Annual For The Love Of Our Children Gala at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on February 11, 2019 in New York City.
(Source: Getty Images North America)

*The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has placed CNN on a “special media monitoring list” because the organization is “concerned about the lack of black representation within the ranks of CNN’s executive news managers.”

In a statement, NABJ said its “preliminary research” found that CNN president Jeff Zucker has no Black executive producers, black senior vice presidents or vice presidents on the news side. The group also claims Zucker refused a meeting with members of the delegation to discuss their concerns about representation. As such, NABJ said it will continue to research and analyze the network’s diversity and inclusion practices.

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Meanwhile, Zucker disputed the group’s findings that there are no Black vice presidents on the news side, but did not provide receipts.

The NABJ also addressed Zucker’s refusal to meet with them because of “a personal issue between CNN and NABJ’s Vice President-Digital Roland Martin.”

In a statement to TheWrap, CNN said it’s willing to meet with NABJ as long as Martin wasn’t a part of the discussion. The issue between the veteran journalist and the network goes back to 2016 when Roland was accused of leaking town hall questions to the Clinton campaign.

But the NABJ statement noted that “Previously, former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile admitted… she inadvertently disclosed a town hall topic to the Clinton campaign that was part of Martin’s research inquiry for the town hall,”

CNN said in the statement:

“For months, we have been working with NABJ to schedule a meeting because the relationship between CNN and NABJ is very important to us… Unfortunately, the significant and reckless damage that Roland Martin did to CNN while partnering with us during a 2016 Democratic Town Hall has made any meeting that includes him untenable.

“Mr. Martin displayed an unprecedented and egregious lack of journalistic ethics and integrity by leaking questions prior to the town hall. As a result, we have told NABJ that CNN will not participate in any meeting that includes him.”

The group is calling for a “civil rights audit” to examine CNN’s “hiring, promotion and compensation practices involving black employees.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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