Shocker: Presidential Debate Commission Says All White Moderators Will Represent Country Just Fine
The Commission on Presidential Debates satisfied one minority group while marginalizing another. Although it chose CNN’s Candy Crowley to become the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in 20 years, CPD did not choose any African American or Latino moderators. The last black moderator of a presidential debate was Carole Simpson in 1992, although PBS’ Gwen Ifill moderated two vice presidential debates (in 2004 and 2008). This marks the first time since 1996 that no person of color has been chosen as moderator for either the presidential or vice presidential debates.
CPD answered the criticism with the following:
We recognize that there are many organizations and individuals who wish they had been included in our moderator selection. Debate arithmetic means that it is impossible to accommodate all of them. However, we strongly believe that the four journalists we have named see their assignment as representing all Americans in their choice of topics and questions.
Randy Falco, CEO of Univision, wrote to the commission Wednesday, saying it had “neglected to have someone speak credibly to the concerns of Hispanics in America,” and proposed an additional debate to address issues affecting Hispanics.
Also in an op-ed, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous shared his disappointment with CPD’s selection, saying:
“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.”
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Carole Simpson said she “was happy two women were named, but it would have been nice if a little color had been added.”
The debate commission has never selected an Asian moderator.
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