When it comes to diversity in the media, nothing’s going to change until senior management takes responsibility. That was the thrust of a NAMIC panel discussion Tues on the media’s representation of ethnic groups. “We can have all the diversity group marketing videos, but it doesn’t matter until management has that sensitivity,” said Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart . Diaz-Balart spoke about how as a Cuban-American he has been asked if he can objectively report on Fidel Castro . He wondered how many female reporters were asked if they could objectively report on Hillary Clinton ‘s presidential bid or whether African-Americans were asked if they could fairly report on Barack Obama . “Where’s that line drawn when it comes to asking some people and not others?” Diaz-Balart asked. There were also concerns raised about media using people of color only on “ethnic” stories. Essence magazine editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray also blasted the laziness that causes reporters to rely on self-anointed spokespersons, like Jesse Jackson . CNN Worldwide svp, intl newsgathering Parisa Khosravi said CNN’s Diversity Council combs through the network’s coverage and creates video clips to help with diversity. “It’s incredibly important to us that when we have a black man on TV, he’s not talking about black issues but about anything and everything,” she said. Khosravi credited CNN founder Ted Turner for helping develop this culture early on by banning the word “foreign” from air because “who is the foreigner? We’re an international news organization.” Adding some levity to the panel was Comedy Central ‘s self-proclaimed “senior black correspondent” for “The Daily Show,” Larry Wilmore , who cracked that he’s “looking forward to the day when you can turn on ‘Cops’ and a black man has his shirt on.” But Wilmore made some serious points as well, saying people should be judged on their merits. As for the Don Imus controversy, he quipped that a “white guy plus black slang usually equals comedy” but chastised Imus for calling Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos.” “Not even the rappers do that anymore,” Wilmore said. “He doesn’t understand the rules, and they were so undeserving of that label.”

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