The NAACP says it is going to set up meetings with the heads of the news networks to discuss the lack of African- American anchors.
That was triggered by the announcement of CNN's new primetime lineup, which also is lacking, said NAACP Thursday.
"The NAACP is deeply concerned with the lack of African American journalists in prime time news, both on cable and national network news shows, said NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous. "In the spirit of award-winning African American journalists, from W.E.B. Dubois to Ed Bradley, the NAACP feels it is critical to bring this disparity, and the broader trend reflected in the overall lack of people of color as prime time news anchors, to the attention of the top officials at all of the major broadcast and cable news stations."
But Jealous had some positive things to say as well. "We recognize and appreciate that MSNBC often has guest hosts like the Reverend Al Sharpton, and CNN, CBS and NBC have weekend anchors like TJ Holmes, Don Lemon, Russ Mitchell and Lester Holt," he added, but NAACP is looking for headliners. "Nonetheless, we encourage all networks to acknowledge the talent that exists and to increase the diversity among their prime time anchors and hosts."
There is some irony in CNN being the trigger for the criticism, since it employed arguably the first superstar cable network news anchor in Bernard Shaw, who was African-American.
A CNN spokesperson was not available for comment at press time late Thursday.