As one of the most prominent anchors of CNN for the last 13 years, Brooke Baldwin became a familiar face for many in America. She relayed news on everything from school shootings to her own experience with COVID-19 to her "American Woman" series, and everything in between. Ahead of her big exit this month, however, Baldwin has called out the CNN network for diversity issues.
The Peabody Award-nominee has been previously evasive on her exact reasons for leaving CNN. Her announcement alluded that there was “just more I need to do.” Yet when discussing “Women and Media” with On the Issues with Michele Goodwin, CNN veteran Brooke Baldwin had this to say:
The most influential anchors on our network — the highest-paid — are men. My bosses, my executives, are men. The person who oversees CNN Dayside is a man and my executive producer for 10 years is a man, so I’ve been surrounded by a lot of men. . . . There’s no way we will have progress if a bunch of white women are winning. It’s brown women, Black women, Asian women, it’s across the board. We have to see them reflected in our stories. It’s getting better but we still have a bit of a ways to go, I think.
Brooke Baldwin makes good points here about the current state of women in positions of power and influence. Diversity issues are prevalent in almost all forms of media, though changes are being made left and right. BET just announced last month that the network would have its first trans non-binary host and executive producer. ABC had to make some new decisions concerning who should take over Bachelor Nation hosting duties amidst “racially insensitive” comments this year. Efforts have also been made to change up the canon and diversify various movies and comics.
Yet Brooke Baldwin’s departure from CNN doesn’t exactly help issues concerning diversity at the network. CNN announced that they will be essentially just reshuffling the deck, with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell taking over Baldwin’s old slot from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and then Brianna Keilar taking over as co-host on New Day.
The recent comments made by Brooke Baldwin do, however, align with what seems to be her path going forward. She just recently released her new book, Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power. In it, she speaks with all manner of female trailblazers, such as actress Reese Witherspoon and activist Stacey Abrams. Baldwin explained to Yahoo Entertainment that her exit from CNN was a necessary one, saying,
It's going to be hard to walk away. I have to walk away. And the main reason is — listen, it's been a total privilege... but I, in spending all this time with all these trailblazing women and these huddles, I cannot hold space with them and not be the bravest version of myself.
In other words, it seems Brooke Baldwin wants to raise the bar for herself. Moreover, she is putting out there that CNN needs to raise their bar, as well.