‘An Egregious Oversight’: CBC Rips CNN For Refusing Black Media Access To Presidential Debate In Atlanta

Preparations Underway In Atlanta For First Presidential Debate

Source: Kevin Dietsch / Getty

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is demanding that CNN grant Black media access to cover Thursday’s presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump amid reports that the media company is refusing such credentials to those news outlets.

Speaking on behalf of the CBC, CBCPAC Chairman and New York Rep. Gregory Meeks said it was “totally unacceptable” that Black media were seemingly being singled out while granting hundreds of other outlets access.

The demands from CBC came hours after journalist Roland Martin on Wednesday posted on social media that CNN “has not issued ANY credentials for tomorrow night’s debate to ANY Black-owned media outlets.” He specifically asked Emily Kuhn, CNN’s senior vice president of public relations, why “every Black newspaper in ATLANTA” was “denied” credentials, calling it both “despicable” and “pathetic.”

Later in the day, the editor-in-chief at the Atlanta Voice, one of the city’s oldest Black newspapers, told the Atlanta Black Star that CNN’s treatment of Black media was “disrespectful” and “tacky” yet “typical of CNN.”

It was in that context that Meeks blasted CNN for the “egregious oversight” of seemingly intentionally excluding Black media. Meeks demanded at least 10 Black media outlets be credentialed for the debate.

“This afternoon we learned that CNN has credentialed 800 members of the media for the first presidential debate of the election cycle. Not one represents a Black-owned media outlet. CNN’s exclusion of Black-owned media represents an egregious oversight and is totally unacceptable,” Meeks said. “CNN must immediately credential Black-owned media outlets ahead of tomorrow night’s debate. Failure to do so is a choice, an offense to Black Americans, and cannot stand. We are calling on CNN to credential a minimum of 10 Black-owned media outlets for tomorrow’s debate.”

Meeks added: “Black-owned media provides a critical, trusted source of information to our communities and their role in our democracy must be respected and honored by CNN.”

A request for comment from CNN was not immediately returned.

However, the Atlanta Black Star reported that CNN told them the deadline for media credentials for the debate expired earlier this month, suggesting that no Black media outlets applied for access in time. CNN told the Atlanta Black Star in an email that it was “unable to accommodate any additional credential requests” since the deadline had passed.

There appeared to not have been any outreach from CNN to Black media to invite them to apply for debate media credentials.

The Biden Campaign said it advocated for Black media to be credentialed for the debate to no avail.

As a result, the Biden Campaign scheduled a gaggle for Black media to meet with its Communications Director Michael Tyler in the hours before the debate on Thursday.

There have only been two presidential debates scheduled this year. The next debate is slated to be held on Sept. 10 at a location that has yet to be determined.

Without Black media representation in general, Black communities’ fleeting trust in the mainstream media could become further eroded, Eric Ward, executive vice president of Race Forward, wrote in an op-ed for NewsOne last year.

“Black America is not only receiving less access to journalism, but the news we do have access to is less likely to represent us or the concerns of our communities,” Ward wrote prophetically at the time. He added later: “This leaves Black communities even more susceptible to the disinformation and misinformation that is coursing through the internet.”

The reports about CNN refusing to credential Black media at the presidential debate come months after the Pew Research Center found that nearly 25% of Black Americans said they get their news from Black media, in particular.

“These outlets, which have a long history in the U.S., are defined as those created by Black people and focused on providing news and information specifically to Black audiences,” Pew found. “Another 40% of Black adults say they sometimes get news from such outlets.”

This is America.


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The post ‘An Egregious Oversight’: CBC Rips CNN For Refusing Black Media Access To Presidential Debate In Atlanta appeared first on NewsOne.

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