The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the National Association of Black Journalists are expressing their disappointment with the Commission on Presidential Debates regarding the lack of diversity of this year’s debate moderators.
No Black or Latino journalists were selected this year to moderate a presidential or vice presidential debate.
In a letter to the debate commission by Joint Center President Ralph Everett, the Center is calling for more debates to be added to the 4 already scheduled. The Joint Center is also requesting that the Commission on Presidential Debates analyze the way they select moderators.
“We ask that the Commission take measures to remedy this oversight by adding more debates to the calendar. As such, we ask it to reconsider its decision to deny Univision’s request forum to be hosted by two of the nation’s most respected journalists — Jorge and Maria Elena. We further ask the Commission to pursue similar initiatives with other media outlets large audiences of African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color,” the Joint Center’s letter stated.
Though Everett applauded the selection of CNN’s Candy Crowley and ABC’s Martha Raddatz as the first female debate moderators in 20 years, he also reminded the Commission of a current political climate that includes issues disproportionately effecting Blacks and Latinos.
The National Association of Black Journalists also reacted with disappointment to the debate commission’s choices.
In a statement today, the NABJ said, “The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is disappointed the journalists chosen to participate in the presidential debatesdoesn’t reflect what has become the most diverse electorate in U.S. history. While we commend the selection of the first woman moderator in 20 years, we find it unacceptable that no journalists of color will be involved.”
“By excluding journalists of color, the commission failed to satisfy an important public interest given that racial and ethnic minorities will contribute roughly one quarter of the votes cast on Election Day. Any credible analysis has shown that their turnout, or lack thereof, will be a decisive factor in the presidential contest,” the NABJ added.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Managing Editor, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She can be heard every Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Earl Ingram Show as well as on WPFW 89.3 every Friday at 6:30 p.m. Ms. Burke is a former employee of USAToday.com and ABC News. You can e-mail her at LBurke007@gmail.com follow her on twitter @Crewof42.