"They kept saying they wanted an Oprah-style town hall format, so that probably had something to do with them choosing a black woman. I was told in my earpiece by a producer, ‘Go interview the lady in the green dress on the left, and now the man in the red sweater.’ I had no control over the questions that were asked, or who asked, or in what order. I was like a traffic cop." - Former ABC News Anchor Carole Simpson, on moderating the 1992 presidential debate. [via HuffPo’s Laura Bassett]
Tonight’s debate moderator, Candy Crowley, is only the second woman to moderate a presidential debate. And there’s a critical, oft ignored foot note here: both woman will have hosted “town hall” style debates, meaning neither woman has written her own questions for the debate.
Luckily, Candy Crowley’s role is more prominent than Simpson’s role was in 1992: Crowley has received questions in advance from audience members and she will choose which audience members to call on. This is an improvement from 10 years ago, but four years from now, we deserve to see what we’ve seen from Gwen Ifill and Martha Raddatz during the vice presidential debates - a fair and decisive female moderator whose experience qualifies her to write her own questions for a presidential debate.
[photo via blackamericaweb.com]