Black Journalists Complain About Lack of Diversity in Presidential Debates

NABJ complains that there are no Black or Latino moderators in the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates.

Posted: 08/17/2012 05:00 PM EDT

The National Association of Black Journalists has issued a complaint about the lack of diversity among the moderators of the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates.

The organization issued a statement stating that the Commission on Presidential Debates was treating Black journalists as if “they were unqualified, invisible or both.”

The list of moderators in the presidential debates includes Candy Crowley of CNN, Jim Lehrer of PBS and Bob Schieffer of CBS News. They were selected to moderate the three debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger. 

Martha Raddatz of ABC News will moderate the debates between Vice President Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, Romney’s selection for vice president.

This year’s list of moderators is in sharp contrast to other presidential election years when Black journalists were included in the debates. Bernard Shaw of CNN moderated a presidential debate in 1988 and Carol Simpson moderated a debate in 1992. Both journalists are Black. In 2004 and 2008, Gwen Ifill of PBS moderated the vice presidential debates.

The Black journalists’ complaint comes a week after a similar criticism from the president of Spanish-speaking television network Univision, who suggested that the commission should create a separate forum hosted by two Univision personalities.

The commission responded by stating that a number of groups and individuals wanted to be included, but it was impossible to accommodate each request.


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