Bill Moyers and Univision news anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas criticized the group behind this year’s presidential and vice-presidential debates Friday for failing to recognize the growing Latino electorate.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates, they’re stuck in the 1950s,” Ramos said on Moyers & Company. “They still think that the country could be divided between men and women and that’s it. And they do not realize that one in every three persons in the United States is from a minority.”
Wednesday’s first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Moyers said, would have covered at least one more topic had either Ramos or Salinas served as moderator.
“The 90-minute debate went by, for example, without a word about immigration — not a thing said about the countless people trapped in our muddled policy,” Moyers said. “And this in Colorado, a swing state where both Romney and Obama have been courting the large Hispanic vote.”
However, he said, the commission, a non-profit group formed in 1987, did not allow either anchor, recently honored with an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, to take part.
PBS NewsHour Executive Editor Jim Lehrer moderated Wednesday’s debate and was roundly criticized for his performance. ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz will host the Oct. 11 vice-presidential debate between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and incumbent Joe Biden; CNN anchor Candy Crowley and Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer will each host the final two Obama-Romney debates.
As a response to being excluded from serving as moderators, Univision aired live prime-time interviews by Salinas and Ramos with each presidential candidate. The two broadcasts combined to bring in more than 4 million viewers, illustrating the network’s growth over the past few years.
“We are mainstream,” Salinas said. “You usually try to separate us from ethnic media and mainstream media. We are mainstream media. And when you look at the ratings we compete directly with ABC, CBS and NBC. And many times in major cities we have higher ratings.”
Watch Ramos and Salinas’ discussion with Moyers, aired Friday, below.