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Kerry Washington, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lead criticism of CBS after 2020 election coverage team appears to include no black staff

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  • “Scandal” actress Kerry Washington and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were among Twitter users who criticized CBS for seemingly not including any Black journalists on its newly announced 2020 Election team.
  • Washington and Ocasio-Cortez reacted to a tweet from CBS’ Ben Mitchell that had headshots of the 12 producers and reporters assigned to cover the 2020 Presidential Election.
  • The tweet provoked hundreds of replies, including several members of the media who questioned how the team’s seeming lack of Black journalists would compromise coverage for African-American voters.

Scandal” actress Kerry Washington and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were among Twitter users who criticized CBS for announcing their new 2020 election team without seemingly including any Black journalists.

Quoting the same tweet from CBS Associate Producer Ben Mitchell, Ocasio-Cortez and Washington tweeted a day apart, both taking issue that none of the 12 reporters or producers appeared to be Black.

Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “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.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added: “Unacceptable in 2019. Try again.”

The next day, Washington quoted the same tweet and wrote “Dear @CBSNews, I am encouraged by the diversity you DID include. But when it comes time to discuss the inevitable role that race and racism will play in the election, who will you turn to for a perspective with nuanced & personal understanding of the African American experience?”

Though they garnered significant attention, Ocasio-Cortez’s and Washington’s reactions were just two among hundreds of tweets criticizing the team’s seeming lack of diversity. 

Many other members of the media tweeted to criticize the announcement.

Journalist Erin Biba wrote that it was “remarkable” that CBS would “make an error this glaringly stupid and wrong” by not crafting a more diverse team. 

Rolling Stone Senior Writer Jamil Smith tweeted “there will be more black candidates for president” than were included on the team. He added, “in this day and age, you have to try to screw up this badly.” 

New Yorker Staff Writer Jelani Cobb pointed out that the team would be covering an election that is expected to be dominated by key issues including voter suppression and racial relations.

Tiffany Cross, co-founder and managing editor of The Beat DC, a site that calls itself “DC’s inclusive political pulse,” tweeted to encourage readers to look elsewhere for 2020 coverage. 

Business Insider did not receive a response from CBS on the matter.

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