A Black journalists delegation headed by former CNN political contributor Roland S. Martin has put CNN on notice for its lack of Black executives in leadership positions at the cable news network.
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) said Tuesday it has placed CNN on a "special media monitoring list," citing a lack of Black leadership among the network's executive ranks.
In a statement, NABJ said its "preliminary research" found that there are no Black executive producers as well as no Black vice presidents or senior vice presidents reporting to CNN President Jeff Zucker on the news side.
The NABJ also complained that Zucker refused to set up a meeting with a four-person delegation to air out their concerns.
Zucker disputed the group's findings that there are no Black vice presidents on the news side, although the network declined to provide the name or position of the vice president or vice presidents.
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, the NABJ cited Martin's meddling in a 2016 town hall debate between then-Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
"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," the NABJ statement reads.
CNN said in a statement shared with The Hill that it worked "for months" to schedule a meeting with members of the group's leadership team, but CNN said that it would not meet with Martin.
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."
CNN said the offer to meet with the group - without Martin - still stands.
The NABJ said it plans to conduct further research and analysis on CNN's "diversity, inclusion and equity practices." The group is calling for a "civil rights audit" to examine CNN's "hiring, promotion and compensation practices involving black employees."
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