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What If Godwin Was One of Us?

kim godwin
One of the frequent criticisms of Godwin is that she has been a hands-off leader who spends more time trying to manage her reputation than actually doing the job of managing the newsroom. Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
February 28, 2024

Over the weekend, ABC News president Kim Godwin sent an email to the network’s political unit, various producers, and on-air talent in which she declared that recent comments uttered by President Donald Trump about Black people were “as racist as they come.” Almost instantly, the assessment drew scrutiny from a number of ABC insiders who felt that a newsroom president shouldn’t make statements that could compromise the network’s reputation for impartiality, and complicate its journalists’ efforts to report on the former president’s campaign. “I hope David or George weren’t hoping to get a presidential debate this cycle,” one network insider said, “because that is now impossible.”

The statement, which Godwin made in an ongoing email exchange she’d initiated to discuss how to cover the former president’s recent remarks—he’d said his string of indictments were “why the Black people like me”—was the latest in a series of unforced errors that Godwin has made during her embattled tenure atop the network news division. And her missive was all the more notable because it didn’t even align with the network’s own editorial posture toward Trump’s comments. For its part, ABC News more cautiously characterized them as having been “criticized as racist.”