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The Lady with the Microphone
September 26, 2012 6:04 PM   Subscribe

In 1992, Carole Simpson was the first woman and first minority to moderate a presidential debate. Twenty years later, as Candy Crowley is about to become only the 2nd woman to moderate, Carole Simpson writes a compelling look back on why it's taken 20 more years, and why both women have moderated "town hall" style debates, rather than asking the questions outright.
posted by nakedmolerats (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
both women have moderated "town hall" style debates, rather than asking the questions outright.

"Town hall" debates always involve the moderator asking the questions. The audience members often end up being marginalized.

Also, women have moderated many presidential debates, in the 2012 primaries alone. I'm fine with having Jim Lehrer always moderate the general-election debates.
posted by John Cohen at 6:14 PM on September 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


In an election cycle when women's issues have shared center stage with the economy, it seems ludicrous to me that a woman will not be asking questions about health, reproduction and contraception issues.

The sad thing is I know not a few conservatives who believe this is exactly why we wouldn't want a woman moderating the presidential debate. They argue the "women's issues" are a distraction from the real problems.
posted by schroedinger at 6:27 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Moderating" the debates means nothing, now that the parties staged a coup and took the management away from the League of Women Voters.

The real question is who screens what topics get covered.
posted by DU at 6:28 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's not the same, obviously, but Gwen Ifill has moderated a few vice presidential debates.
posted by troika at 6:33 PM on September 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I could have sworn Gwen Ifill moderated Presidential debates in the past, but, no, she did the Vice Presidential debates.
posted by zsazsa at 6:34 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for that, troika. I'd misremembered her into moderating a presidential debate, so I was scratching my head. (and zsazsa for telling me I'm not alone)
posted by jepler at 6:35 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It must have been because of how presidential Ms. Palin was.
posted by jepler at 6:35 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The real question is who screens what topics get covered.

Another question is who decides which candidates get to participate. It would be nice to hear the broader view on civil rights issues from a wider pool of candidates. Marketplace of ideas, etc.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:36 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are we all supposed to forget that the "debates" are staged events, pre-planned by the two parties, excluding anyone and any question not approved by the "Commission_on_Presidential_Debates"?

It is no great honor to "moderate" this, regardless of the gender of said moderator.
posted by anarch at 6:54 PM on September 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Another question is who decides which candidates get to participate. It would be nice to hear the broader view on civil rights issues from a wider pool of candidates.

As much as we want it, they're not going to open the floor to Vermin Supreme this late in the election cycle, I'm sorry.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:55 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


It is no great honor to "moderate" this, regardless of the gender of said moderator.

It's kind of a classic tactic to tell women the ways they're treated unfairly don't really matter, and that they should care about something else. I am pretty cynical but I still think it's bullshit that WOC are only ok figurehead moderators when the people in charge want Oprah.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:31 PM on September 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Presidential debates have become the political equivalent of NASCAR races. Everybody knows the main points each candidate is going to make, so the course is set. For people who are into the sport, there's some excitement in watching which driver will pull slightly ahead as they run around in circles. Others want to see who crashes or runs out of gas. I'm all for having more women announcing, but this gig does not have as much gravitas as its proponents would like to think.
posted by Longtime Listener at 5:43 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


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