The NAACP released the following statement regarding the Commission on Presidential Debates’ announcement that no persons of color would be moderating this year’s presidential debates. NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said: “The lack of diversity among this year’s debate moderators is representative of the overall lack of diversity in news media,” stated Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP. “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.”
The NAACP Executive Director of the Hollywood Bureau Vic Bulluck 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 critical that during these important conversations about the future of our nation the concerns of communities of color are reflected in the questions posed to the candidates. We hope that this year’s moderators will acknowledge the pivotal role African Americans will play on November 6th and push the candidates to address key issues that resonate with our community like the future of public education, racial profiling, and improved employment opportunities.”
The 2010 Census data shows that people of color are not only the fastest growing demographic, they are also voting at much higher rates than in previous election cycles. In two of the states hosting debates (Florida and New York), the percentage of African Americans and Hispanics is higher than the national average.
The NAACP is currently in discussions with the networks regarding diversity trends in news media.