Politics

Black Journalists ‘Livid’ After Omission From Presidential Debates

Sun., Aug. 19, 2012 12:24 PM EDT
by Terry Shropshire

Renowned reporter Gwen Ifill, seen here with then-Senator Barack Obama, has moderated vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008

The National Association of Black Journalists and others have blasted the Commission of Presidential Debates’ glaring omission of any journalist of color among the presidential and vice presidential debate moderators this year.

The NABJ’s vociferous discontent is matched by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Spanish language network Univision. The Commission announced this past week that Jim Lehrer, Bob Schieffer, Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz would moderate the 2012 debates in the fall.

Even renowned right-winger Rush Limbaugh hates the choices, albeit for a radically different reason. Limbaugh has decried the chosen moderators as “far, far left wing.”

Gwen Ifill of PBS was said to be “livid” about her own exclusion from moderating the debates.

“I was indeed disappointed,” Gwen Ifill told the New York Times. Those around the reporter described her as “livid”after the announcements of the moderators were made.

She was snubbed despite two important factors: PBS’s Lehrer has previously stated that he doesn’t want to do it and she had performed well during the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates.

It should be noted that the 2012 presidential debate moderators include a woman, CNN’s Candy Crowley, for the first time in 20 years.

Still, criticism over this year’s choices remains.

“We cannot make everybody happy. That’s just a fact of life,” said Mike McCurry, a former spokesman for President Bill Clinton who now serves on the Commission of Presidential Debates’, in an interview with the Times. “I have talked to at least one network news division that was in an unhappy place.”

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