Open Letter to Candy Crowley
Oct. 16, 2012
Dear Ms. Crowley,
As you prepare to moderate tonight's presidential debate, I want you to know that the National Organization for Women has your back. The leaders and supporters of NOW were encouraged last week when you expressed your intention to ask the two candidates follow-up questions, helping to clarify critical points for the voting public.
But our optimism turned to outrage when we learned that your role might be limited to nothing more than facilitating questions from audience members. As you well know, the vast majority of journalists chosen to moderate presidential debates have been men. The last (and only other) woman to host a presidential debate was Carole Simpson 20 years ago. She, too, was assigned to a town-hall-style debate, where she said she was relegated to being "the lady holding the microphone."
Last Thursday, Martha Raddatz presided over the vice presidential debate, demonstrating that a woman can be an intelligent, assertive and rigorous moderator. Are the men afraid that another tough, exacting woman moderator might show them how it can and should be done? The biggest potential losers here are society's rigid gender roles, which suggest that a woman shouldn't be allowed to challenge the guys at the top of the tickets. Well, I say good riddance to those outdated stereotypes!
This is an extremely important election. The big issues of jobs and the economy are crucial for women and their families. The future of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are on the line, and social programs that disproportionately serve and employ women are facing deep cuts. Women's access to health care, birth control and abortion have been under increased attack since the 2010 elections. We desperately need you to ensure that these critical issues are raised. Far too much is at stake.
Undecided voters are looking for answers that will help them make well-informed decisions when they head to the polls in just three weeks. Please do all you can to make sure that voters know where the candidates stand -- and as you "go rogue," know that we fully support you. In fact, NOW posted a petition on our website asking folks to pledge their support for you, and in less than 24 hours we have received thousands and thousands of signatures. Make us proud, Candy!
Note: This letter was sent directly to Ms. Crowley prior to the debate on Oct. 16, 2012.
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