Univision flexed its muscle as a growing force in the American news landscape Wednesday, expressing disappointment that the Commission on Presidential Debates did not tap a Latino journalist to moderate one of its presidential debates this fall.
In a letter to Janet Brown, head of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Univision CEO Randy Falco wrote that the debates present an “ideal opportunity” to include a Latino journalist like Jorge Ramos or Maria Elena Salinas in the moderator line-up. Given the importance of the debates,” Falco wrote that the moderator selection was “surprising.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates chose Jim Lehrer of PBS, Bob Schiefer of CBS, Candy Crowley of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC News to moderate this year’s events. Crowley will be the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in two decades, though she will oversee the town-hall style debate where audience members ask the majority of the questions. Raddatz will moderate the vice presidential debate.
And while Univision is the most-watched Spanish-language network in the U.S. by far — it recently teamed up with ABC to launch a new English-language cable channel — there’s no reason the selected debate moderators can’t ask about issues of importance for Latino voters.
As an olive branch of sorts, and likely sensing a business opportunity, Falco offered Univision to host a forum for the candidates to address the concerns of Latino voters.
The Commission on Presidential Debates responded to Univision’s letter with the following statement:
We recognize that there are many organizations and individuals who wish they had been included in our moderator selection. Debate arithmetic means that it is impossible to accommodate all of them. However, we strongly believe that the four journalists we have named see their assignment as representing all Americans in their choice of topics and questions. The general election debates have always focused on issues of national interest that affect all citizens, including Univision’s audience. We have met with Univision about joint efforts to get the largest number of people possible engaged in discussing and learning from the debates, and remain interested in working with you toward that goal.
Read Falco’s letter below:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com