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Presidential debate moderators under fire for lack of ethnic diversity

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The lineup of moderators for this fall’s presidential debates notably excludes any representatives of racial minorities, and that omission is now being called into question.

The National Association of Black Journalists complained on Friday that the Commission was “treating black reporters as if they were unqualified, invisible or both.”

A few days earlier, the president of the Spanish language network Univision had noted the lack of Latino representatives and suggested that his network might sponsor a separate forum hosted by two Univision personalities.

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The designated moderators for the three presidential debates are Candy Crowley of CNN, Jim Lehrer of PBS, and Bob Schieffer of CBS. Martha Raddatz of ABC will moderate the vice presidential debate.

All four journalists are white, work for major television networks, and are between 59 and 78 years of age.

The commission has responded to criticism by saying that it is impossible to accommodate everyone but that the journalists see themselves as representing all Americans.

Meanwhile, ultra-conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has accused the moderators of being “far, far left-wing liberal Democrats.”

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell believes that Limbaugh may be using a time-honored conservative trick of “intimidating” the moderators into attempting to prove their impartiality by going easy on Mitt Romney and harder on President Obama.

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