The cover and accompanying story, published Wednesday, showcase CNN’s “new war” against other media companies. The story details how CNN chief Jeff Zucker is reshaping the network to better compete with digital juggernauts like BuzzFeed and Vice, and highlights choices like hiring YouTube star Casey Neistat to host a digital show and tapping celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and comedian W. Kamau Bell to launch shows with the network’s Great Big Story, a production shop for digital videos distributed via social media.
Zucker, Neistat, Bourdain and Bell are all featured on THR’s cover, as is star anchor Jake Tapper. No women or LGBTQ people who work at the network are on the cover, nor are any mentioned in the story.
The cover faced swift backlash on Twitter after a CNN producer touted it as exhibiting what “the future of media” looks like:
Twitter quickly pointed out the glaring omission:
THR has previously faced backlash for covers featuring only white actresses. The magazine’s executive editor actually called its 2015 cover featuring eight white actresses selected to participate in the publication’s annual awards season roundtable “appalling.” He partially blamed the magazine for overlooking actresses of color, but primarily pointed his finger at the industry as a whole for failing to cast women of color.
Like that controversial cover, THR’s latest issue speaks to the industry’s underlying diversity issues. The network does have many women anchors and reporters, and women are frequently brought on air as analysts and commentators. But in CNN’s more high-profile echelons, women are few and far between. “Out Front” host Erin Burnett is the only female anchor in the network’s primetime lineup. Great Big Story’s leadership team includes just two women, and only one CNN Original Series is hosted by a woman.
Neither CNN nor The Hollywood Reporter immediately responded to The Huffington Post’s requests for comment.