Emerson Leader-in-Residence Talks Debate Moderation

Recently, Emerson journalism leader-in-residence Carole Simpson shared her thoughts as a former debate moderator with The Takeaway on her experience and thoughts on presiding over a presidential debate. As the first woman and first minority to solely moderate such an event, her input was greatly valued, specifically her recommendations on who would be qualified to preside over the upcoming 2012 presidential debates.

Since the 1992 debates when Simpson moderated the second of three debates between Ross Perot, George Bush, and eventual winner Bill Clinton, no woman of color or otherwise has moderated a presidential debate. After more than two decades of working as an ABC reporter, Simpson spoke out about America “playing the diversity game” from her home at Martha’s Vineyard. “My suspicion is just don’t think a woman or a minority is as good as a white man,” she revealed. “That a white man has more authority, that people will respond to him as an authority figure more than they will to a woman, and it’s just crazy.” She expressed her upset that her success in the field of journalism hasn’t opened doors for other professional African American women in a similar profession– “it hasn’t been that way, to my great disappointment,” she said.

To conclude her piece on The Takeaway, Simpson offered her personal advice for future debate protocol. In 1992 she said that she “did not ask my own questions, and I think female questions need to be asked in the future.” Carole Simpson will continue to educate at Emerson College next year.

By Jamie Loftus

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