NAACP: White-Washed Media Never Selects Black Moderators For Presidential Debates
We may have a black President, but there won’t be any black journalists grilling President Obama or Mitt Romney when the debates roll around. In an op-ed, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous made his disappointment with the panel of all white moderators known.
“The lack of diversity among this year’s debate moderators is representative of the overall lack of diversity in news media. Whether it’s as primetime news anchors, debate moderators, or commentators on the influential Sunday morning political talk shows, people of color – and African Americans specifically – are strikingly underrepresented” wrote Jealous.
The big surprise among observers was that CNN’s Candy Crowley became the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in 20 years. The last woman to moderate a presidential debate was Carole Simpson, who is black. In addition to Crowley, The Commission on Presidential Debates also selected ABC’s Martha Raddatz to moderate this year’s vice presidential debate.
Although no African-Americans have been invited to be moderators for presidential debates since Simpson in 1992, PBS’ Gwen Ifill moderated two vice presidential debates (in 2004 and 2008).
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Simpson said she “was happy two women were named, but it would have been nice if a little color had been added.”
Her comments seemed in line with Jealous, who said, “While we congratulate the Commission on Presidential Debates for including two women moderators for this year’s debates, it is troubling that no African Americans or journalists of color were included to lead the conversation.”
It is amazing to realize that it has been twenty years since Carole Simpson hosted a debate. And both she and Jealous are right about the absence of color among the moderators.
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