Debates Offer Peek at Old White Men

"Paul G. Kirk, Jr. (69 year-old white man) and Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. (a 68 year-old white man), both co-chairmen of the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), have announced the moderators for the 2008 general election presidential debates:

1.  Jim Lehrer [74 year-old white man];
2.  Tom Brokaw [68 year-old white man]; and
3.  Bob Schieffer [71 year-old white man].

In announcing the moderators, they might well have said, "we thought it was important that each of the moderators be a retirement age white man."

How did they decide that all of the moderators of presidential debates should be white men beyond retirement age? Were they trying to make John McCain feel more comfortable about being older than 88% of America's population? The Commission on Presidential Debates really cannot be said to be "non-partisan" since it clearly represents the O.W.M.P (Old White Men's Party).

We should call these the "Founding Father Debates" since all of the moderators are old enough, white enough and male enough to have been present at the first Constitutional Conventions!

There's nothing wrong with being an old white man, but is it really fair that, at all three successive debates, Barack Obama will be faced by John McCain and a moderator who looks just like John McCain in every demographic respect?

Is this not a subtle way of erroneously telling America that only old white men are responsible and wise enough to hold positions of responsibility?  That certainly would be a crazy and counter-productive message for Democrats to send right before a presidential election in which their nominee is a Black man. So, this is yet another example of old white men valuing exclusionary politics over broader Party self-interest.

We all love and respect Brokaw, Lehrer and Schieffer. Each of them is like our best image of a grandfather or great-grandfather?  But we also have great respect for (that old white lady who fucked the Black senator from Massachusetts), as well as (the old Black man who was an anchor at CNN) and (the Black guy who was on television as an anchor).

Is there any good reason why ALL minorities and women had to be excluded from the group of presidential debate moderators to make room for these three old white men?  It's the same question that we can ask of the Democratic National Convention State Blogger Corps: Is there any good reason why it had to be 97% white at a Convention where 20% of the delegates are Black? Jim Crow tradition, perhaps?

So, let's call these "The Model T Debates" (each of these men is old enough to have had one as his first car), or the "Remember Kruschev Debates" (because each of these men is old enough to have reported on Kruschev's presidency of the Soviet Union).

I have figured out why the co-chairmen of the Debate Commission decided that all three moderators should be retirement-age white men:  they wanted elite moderators, and to be old, white, male is "elite" by definition, since less than five percent of the population of the United States shares this demographic profile.

If they hold each of the debates in an all white male retirement village, then they will have achieved whatever their goal was in assuring that mostly ancient white men would be in evidence at the Presidential Debates.

But, look at the bright side: The debate questions will reveal what's important to old white men, just like decisions of the US Supreme Court do, but more so still.

Tags: 2008, Debate, Democratic, geriatric, male, WHITE (all tags)



Re: Fascinating Demographics of the Dem Debates

I believe the choices were based upon the representatives of the stations that are asking as host. Jim Lehrer, from PBS, is pretty much synonymous with presidential debates. Brokaw reps NBC, Schieffer from CBS.

The choices aren't the result of the chairmen choosing poorly, it's the result of the networks not having women or minorities as the voice of their chief political shows (News Hour, Meet the Press, Face the Nation). If you can get diversity there, you can get diversity in the debates.

by TCQuad 2008-08-21 04:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Fascinating Demographics of the Dem Debates

The only way to get on the stage at the debates if you're not an old white man is to run for your party's nomination and win, like Barack Obama did.

by Manic Lawyer 2008-08-21 04:12PM | 0 recs
Is Ifill not

Black enough for you?

Btw, she's distilled awesome.

by Reaper0Bot0 2008-08-21 04:18PM | 0 recs
McCain was trying to insist only on moderators

that were, or looked older than him.

by IowaMike 2008-08-21 04:57PM | 0 recs
If Hillary was the nom

it would still be those old white guys.

by IowaMike 2008-08-21 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Debates Offer Peek at Old White Men

So, John McCain has a built in advantage? Haha

by bsavage 2008-08-21 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Debates Offer Peek at Old White Men

Where is Brian Williams or Katie Couric or Charlie Gibson?

by bsavage 2008-08-21 05:04PM | 0 recs
That's right!

by Manic Lawyer 2008-08-21 05:28PM | 0 recs
Experienced and non-partisan
Would you prefer Chris Matthews? HA!
How about KO....ANOTHER "special comment"
by soyousay 2008-08-21 05:56PM | 0 recs


by Reaper0Bot0 2008-08-21 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Debates Offer Peek at Old White Men

There's so much that could be said about this and your previous history under your other name on dKos, back when it was 'break the old white male hold on the POTUS by nominating Hillary' or nothing from your keyboard.

I was not a Hillary supporter then, and I detested your rants because of the ageism and rascism contained within.

I became a Hillary supporter and I still detested your rants for the same reasons.

There's much to be said for diversity of age, experience, race and ethnic background in government and in the MSM, but you don't accomplish it by stomping your feet about 'old white men' anymore that you accomplish it by stomping your feet about 'young black men' or young hispanic lesbians' or 'middle age cherokee jews'.  

Focus on the disparity of opportunity in government, or the lack of fundamental accuracy and fairness in the MSM, but by focusing on the race and age of folks, you become just as rascist and ageist as the worst of them.  And you usually are, Francis.

by emsprater 2008-08-21 06:13PM | 0 recs
Well said

by lombard 2008-08-21 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Debates Offer Peek at Old White Men

I'm just glad that there's finally a place for white people on network television.

by Cincinnatus 2008-08-21 09:41PM | 0 recs


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