You can’t please everybody, especially when it comes to the presidential debate commission’s widely-praised selection of moderators for this fall’s televised general election debates.
Randy Falco, the chief executive of Univision, the Latino-oriented media powerhouse that recently purchased the web sites of Gawker Media, is deeply unhappy with the commission’s choices.
Reacting to Friday’s announcement of non-Hispanic television personalities to preside over the three face-offs between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (and possibly the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, if he reaches the 15 percent polling threshold), Falco voiced “disappointment, and frankly disbelief” in a letter to debate commission executive director Janet Brown.
“The inclusion of CBS’ Elaine Quijano as a moderator for the Vice Presidential debate is certainly a welcome addition, but seems insufficient when taking into account past presidential cycles, future demographic trends and the important role Latinos play in the economic and social fabric of this great nation,” Falco wrote in a letter released to the news media on Friday afternoon. “Simply put: it’s an abdication of your responsibility to represent and reflect one of the largest and most influential communities in the U.S.”
Quijano, a correspondent for CBS News and an anchor for the network’s online programming, was announced as the moderator of the Oct. 4 televised debate between Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s.
Brown, an old hand at absorbing complaints from critics and disappointed contenders as executive director of the bipartisan commission since its inception as a non-profit in 1988, declined to comment on Falco’s broadside.
The commission announced that NBC’S Lester Holt will preside at the Sept. 26 presidential debate, while ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper will jointly moderate the Oct. 9 town-meeting style debate, and Fox News’s Chris Wallace will moderate the final Oct. 19 presidential debate.
“We ask again for you to reconsider leaving a Spanish-language moderator out of the presidential debate panels,” wrote Falco, who was unavailable for an interview. “As always, we stand ready to create additional venues where the Committee and the candidates can focus on Latinos. The Hispanic community will play a pivotal role in electing the next President and in all federal elections for the foreseeable future. We look forward to working with the Commission to address what we believe to be a troubling trend—the lack of the Hispanic perspective—and hope we can forge a new path forward.”