Editor's note: Carole Simpson is the leader-in-residence at Emerson College’s School of Communication in Boston, where she teaches journalism and communications classes. She is the first woman or minority to be the sole moderator of a presidential debate, and chronicled her 40 years as a broadcast journalist in her memoir, "Newslady."
By Carole Simpson, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Congratulations Candy Crowley on being the first female in 20 years to be named moderator of a presidential debate!
CNN's Crowley first woman in two decades to moderate presidential debate
They could not have chosen a more seasoned journalist for this job.
(I have to acknowledge that I am not totally unbiased: Candy and I first met 30 years ago when we covered President Ronald Reagan.)
I remember when I was chosen to moderate the 1992 presidential debate with President George H.W. Bush, businessman Ross Perot and then-Gov. Bill Clinton. I had been covering politics since 1968, was anchor of weekend news at ABC and had covered Clinton and Bush.
It is with that background, that I share some advice.
Don't forget you will be treated differently because you are a woman
There is still a double standard.
People will be hypercritical of how you handle the debate no matter how professional or fair you are.
Opinion: Carole Simpson on the truth about being old and female
Republicans accused me of making Bush look ineffectual, and making Clinton look good.
It was George Bush who replied to a question about the economic recession, “I'm not sure I get it.” I didn’t make him look at his watch during the debate.
I had nothing to do with Bill Clinton working his personal charm on the town hall participants.
Yet, Rush Limbaugh used his radio program to blast my alleged Democratic bias. His speech was so hateful that I received death threats.
Do not be afraid
You will be seen by millions across the world – but don’t think about that.
Before the debate I felt panic. I had to keep telling myself, “It’s only a television show. It’s only a television show.”
That got me through the 90-minutes of hot lights and cameras.
Later, I learned those debates are much more than a TV show. Elections can be decided by how well the candidates perform in the debates.
Some political analysts said Bush lost the election during the debate I moderated. By his answers and his demeanor, the public perception was that he didn’t understand at all how the recession was hurting the American people. Clinton demonstrated he did.
Be yourself, not what you think a 'presidential debate moderator' should be
When I was offered the opportunity, I was told that the commissioners wanted me to be like Oprah.
Since my debate was the first time a town hall format was used, I had no tapes I could review of how exactly to handle questions from voters rather than a panel of journalists.
Since there was no blueprint, I decided to do it my way.
My job was to make sure the “people’s questions” were answered fully by the candidates. So I felt l was the people’s representative.
That meant I treated the people with warmth and friendliness and used my journalism chops when pressing the candidates for answers. I used humor, but was drop-dead serious when the issues demanded. I had to be me - and you, Candy, should be you. Show them your great personality.
Ignore those who want to give you advice on everything
Before my debate, people came out of the woodwork to tell me how to speak, how to stand, how to walk among the audience, how to dress and how to style my hair.
I don’t think any man has gone through that.
Hundreds of people sent me questions they wanted me to ask: good ones, stupid ones and downright crazy ones.
I got myself into such a tizzy that I just stopped listening and reading what others said, and instead concentrated on being totally prepared. I knew each candidate’s position on every major issue. I studied long and hard so that I could catch them if they changed or misstated their positions during the debate. I knew the concerns of the Richmond, Virginia, voters who made up the town hall forum.
I didn’t want anybody to be able to say I was weak or unqualified.
And here I am, giving advice even as I advise charting your own path.
I know that you, Candy, will do an excellent job.
But there is something that is harder to prepare for: Your life will not be the same. Candy Crowley will become a household name.
Perhaps someday, when you’re shopping for souvenirs in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, a local Turk will stop you and say: “You are Candy Crowledy. I saw you in the presidential debate. You were terrific.”
This happened to me in 1999.
Hopefully it won't be another 20 years before you advise the next female moderator of a presidential debate.
Good luck, my friend.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carole Simpson.
I consider, what is it — a lie.
Ms. Crowley, you are beautiful.
Mittens has already flipped in his stance for or against universal healthcare (just within the last few days), and he will most likely flop on his untimely and controversial response to a heated international crisis we are now facing. I believe that during the debates, people will see stark contrasts come to light, and it won't serve in Mittens favor.
I'm sure CNN won't post this, but I'll try anyway. Obese people have no credibility with me. They demonstrate a lack of respect for their health and a lack of self control. Their sloth is self evident.
I personally don't think she is the one for this job. I have seen some of her interviews and she seems to be intimidated by the GOP. She will not challenge the Dem or Rep candidate....wait and see!
I would very much like to see a question about how the attacks on voters rights (with the stated goal of defeating Obama) and SuperPacs funding the BIG LIE is representing the interests of the american people. Another possible question in light of obscene amounts of money being spent my special interest groups and corporations: Would either candidate support passing laws eliminating lobbying and corporate campaign contributions.
In 2002, Romney lied about filing jointly as a resident of Massachusetts and Utah, a charge that the Romney campaign denied and denied and denied until the very last minute when they were forced to admit that yes, the charge had merit and that Romney had filed retroactively.
In that instance, as now, Romney and his top aide Eric Fehrnstrom said over and over, “You’re just going to have to take our word for it,” while refusing to disclose any proof.
The issue is more than that of mere honesty of tax returns, but the ability to trust Romney to run our country. As Harry said, "He (Romney) couldn't be confirmed as a dog catcher".
Thanks for telling the truth
I absolutely agree with you. How can you trust someone who continuously lie, flip flops on very important issues and picks someone like Paul Ryan to be Vice-President? If this team is elected or selected,(voter suppression) the middle class don't have a chance. It also seems to me like Americans have a very short memory, have they forgotten that it was the Republican Party who got us in this mess in the first place? I know they don't want to hear that but facts are facts. There is no way President Obama can get this economy going without Congress working with him and we know what their intentions were from day one. He must fail. Don't they understand that if he fails, the whole country goes down with him? I don't understand how Americans think sometimes. You can't expect miracles from one person. It took eight (8) years to get in the mess we were in in 2008, yet people expect President Obama to fix everything in 2-3 years without the help of Congress. Get a grip America.
To be fair, Candy should stop Mitt when he spouts his lies. Unlike what CNN does now which is let him and Paul Ryan spout any lie they want without challenging it. Instead if CNN they should be called Fox Lite.
Nobody on CNN stopped Obama yesterday when the Pinnochio President stood up on National TV and LIED his face off about Medicare! Not even when his nose grew 8 inches!
Obama's – "I've saved Medicare", made me want to throw up. Medicare AND SS are BANKRUPT! Obama and Bernanke have been artificially propping them both up with Federal Reserve funds to FOOL people like you!
USA has $211Trillion deficit
Unemployment is 15% NOT the 8.3% Pinnochio tells you!
US has 100% debt to GDP ratio
60% of Public debt matures in less than 3 years
Obama robbed Medicare to boost Obamacare [O'Care has added $340 Billion to the deficit set to rise to $1.5 Trillion
Obama is NOW borrowing more Billions from Chin a to BOOST the deficit [again!]
AND nobody says a WORD? What is WRONG with you people – are you dead from the neck up?
Obamacare included a line that mandated no reduction in services to medicare, while reducing costs. When savings come at the expense of benefits, the only word you can use to describe those saving is "cut." When those saving do NOT result in a reduction in benefits but ONLY a reduction in cost, then you can fairly use the word "Savings". Obama SAVED medicare from the CUTS that Romney/Ryan propose. They want to turn it into a voucher system that will go bankrupt faster and reduce benefits, Obama wants everyone on Medicare to enjoy the same benefits they always have. I have no doubt that you were sincere when you said Obama was lying, but you were also mistaken. As a sincere person, I am sure you will do the right thing and apologize for your innocent mistake. Thanks!
Ms. Crowley, I hope you ask Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan to disclose the last ten years of their tax returns. Both are wealthy men and it's important for us to understand how their wealth influences their economic policy. I know that Mr. Romney continues to say "trust me." In my many years of living I've learned that's not always the best thing to do. I loved it when Ronald Raegan said "trust, but verify." It was the perfect response at that time and it surely applies now. I don't believe we (the American people) should trust any politician. Not because they're bad people – but because they will do and say a lot of things to get elected. Thank you for your consideration.
TS maybe it would be more use to go along with the IRS who have NO problem with Mr Romney's taxes and concentrate on the facy that earl next year:
The US economy will implode
Banks will fail
You and I will lose our savings
SS won't pay out
Medical treatment will stall
The implosion will have a knock-on effect on food, water and energy And YOU'RE worried about a few bits of paper????
For more facts and details look up Money Morning. Then tap in "It's going to be Much worse than 2008"
Three names to look for - Paul Schiff, Richard Duncan and Jim Rogers. I warn you – you'll be shaken!
Could you please give CNN head honchos advice on hiring MORE WOMEN with substance? Both of you are great, and I know many other AMERICAN women could do so much better than Morgan and other hard to understand accented blokes from abroad. I want to hear Americans deliver the news. If I didn't I would tune into the BBC. PLEASE hire MORE AMERICAN WOMEN. The salt peters are boorish. Get Americans working again. Especially American women!
Candid advice to Candy Crowley...know your stories, facts vs fiction and half truths
It's sad to see journalists interview politicians and not having comebacks to blatant lies ....because they are afraid...fear comes from a lack of knowledge
I hope thay have a sturdy chair for Candy to sit in.
Why? is she hurt?
RE: I've stated many times to Tim befroe that some of his posts come across elitist and not helpful in any way. Particularly those where glee at the downturn can be perceived as Schadenfreude at individuals. The last time I mentioned it was when the topic was bad photos' of homes for sale and it was clear that the bad photos' were bad' because they were of substandard housing and, potentially, substandard education and socio-economic control.It is his blog and he gets to do what he wants, we are guests.Macroeconomic issues always take on a different feel when you show the impact at a microecomic level and hear the stories of individuals. I find the inevitable posts of folks that say I sat out the bubble and rented a shack in the woods' or I put down 95% of my 30y loan' as interesting as the stories of the individuals that were negatively impacted but, please, leave out the fingerpointing.As a guest I would like to continue to ask for a little moderation when discussing the insanity that we are going through and have led up to this point and remind people that the individual stories can be hearbreaking independent of whose fault it is.
Crowley is a sadsack misfit and a poor choice for this role. She only spins to the left and has little credibility as a moderator. She should stick to her biased reporting and keep out of the debates.
Actually, that severe bias you mention rules out everyone on CNN, let alone NBC...
Aside from Fareek Zakaria's anti gun stance.....he had some very good viewpoints. As for his plagiarism problem...eh. In reality it was not the end of the world. Please bring him back. Loki forgives him. :)
Zakaria? That anti-American who comes on an American TV network to spread his hate of this country? That Zakaria? I'm hoping he and Morgan will slither back under the rocks they came out from. Please take them back and leave the f'd up euro and mideastern ways overseas with them.
Commenting on the moderator's appearance? Already showing gender bias. I'm biting my tongue trying not to mention the enormity of New Jersey's governor or the age of prior male moderators. Crawl back in to your hole.
Have you noticed, our best journalists never studied journalism. Edward R. Murrow was an English major. There is something about journalism school that makes people shallow and superficial. This article is a good example. It has to be translated from palavering journalese into standard English.
Not to mention giving them liberal blinders
Spoken by a true expert.
Oh God...please free us from the extreme liberal left "academics". What ever we did we are sorry.....This punishment is way too extreme. This constant whinny drivel is excruciating.
Could you be specific?
No. Of course not.
You're a conservative.
"Yet, Rush Limbaugh used his radio program to blast my alleged Democratic bias. His speech was so hateful that I received death threats."
"Don't forget you will be treated differently because you are a woman"
"There is still a double standard."
...says the over paid professor with lifetime benefits & tenure....
"Before my debate, people came out of the woodwork to tell me how to speak, how to stand, how to walk among the audience, how to dress and how to style my hair.
I don’t think any man has gone through that."
-amazing....seems you live in a total vacuum....what are you bitter about ? Your entire editorial was one long complaint.
Candy......ditch Ms. Emotional Saddlebags.
"Ignore those who want to give you advice on everything"
This is the best quote yet from Ms. Raving Lunatic
Truth has a Liberal Bias.
Huh? So if someone gets death threats they are to – what? – keep it to themselves? And if they mention it you think that's a "boo hoo?" Seriously? If this were an opinion piece by, say, Glenn Beck and he mentioned he got death threats, I wonder if you would write the same thing?
Go put on a skirt? Why? Does it threaten your masculinity if she wears pants?
That speaks more to your insecurities as a man than it does to her abilities as a woman.
Are you kidding me. All of these Presidential moderators are liberals. It's going to be all "why are you attacking (insert topic) elderly, women, illegal aliens, welfare recipients, food stamp recipients, et al. And all the while, Obama will be tweeting, Nice Job Candy."
"You will be seen by millions across the world – but don’t think about that."
Now that statement alone would put me at ease....
Based on his statement, I think it's way too late for him...
What pap this article is. It essentially is designed to set the stage to villify any criticism of Crowley's moderator performance and neutralize Crowley's critics. It's a "told you so" piece that is so completely accepted as normal in the halls of CNN.
This is an opinion piece. So what are you suggesting? That CNN not let the last woman to moderate a debate pass on her thoughts to the next woman to fill the same shoes? If not ban her from sharing her thoughts, should they sensor them? Posts like yours criticize without offering an alternative. My guess is that you just don't want this person to write a column as she has. If so, just don't read it.
Cal...So much hate, so much hate. My God, what has become of us. Carole and Candy are both lovely, professional and wonderful women. Candy you will do well. You have it in you. Peace and love to all.
If you seriousl think that Crowley is unbiased, fair and professional – go to BBC. THEY know how to "DO" ethical journalism.
At every interview Crowley shouts down ANYTHING that is critical of Obama. Everyone knows it, that's why CNNs ratings dropped by double digits in July! MOST Americans are decent and they're voting with their FEET against CNN as the self proclaimed Managers of Obama's Campaign!
Good advice in the article: Ignore those that try to give you advice, including this article.
Good advice outside of the article (not surprisingly excluded)........be a good moderator. That is don't have an opinion or a stance or a BIAS. Ask the question but don't have a personal agenda.....just ask the question and move on. It's for the public to decide if the response was adequate.
This writer clearly has bias.
It's all going to be a left wing smear job from CNN,ABC, NBC, CBS & PBS so what else is new.
lol ...... yeah, every News Source except Fake the News is Liberal ........ Truth has a Liberal Bias.
I agree totally. Unfortunately true journalism and news reporting began to vanish as soon as the TV camera turned away from the action and was pointed at the reporter. Today the camera is pointed at the reporter for 90% of the time. This makes the reporter more actor than true journalist. It has become more about how the reporter looks and delivers the information than the information content itself. I believe that if the debates were not televised and only broadcast on the radio the people of this country might actually hear what is being said and not be distracted by superfical visual details. Unfortunately politics as well as journalism has become a beauty contest.
If she had only gotten rid of Reagan when she had the chance.
Think of all those HIV+ folk who'd still be alive today because Reagan ignored it for so long.
Think of all those mentally ill people who wouldn't be homeless today (or dead) because he threw them out.
No, it's called being a caring American. Or, if you'd prefer-a Christian. Try being one of those-you might like it.
never really tuhghot i could read such a very beautiful post today. thanks for sharing us a bit of your life. you really deserve more than the award. you're blog really is simply AMAZING..
Bring on the Pinkification!!! I'm a brunette and I love, love, love pink. I may alactluy have far too much, but hey, it's pink. I even have pink shoes, which are super fun to wear.Watch Legally Blonde and you'll be a pink fan for life. I swear! :)
Must be weird to be such a left wing lunatic. We all know the moderators are biased, if gop was smart they would insist on one on way talk between candidates with no moderator to help dems (marxists)
These dames should be home reading thier good wifes guide and taking care of thier men. They shouldnt be wearing pants.. It would be nice to see a courtsey once in a while too. Im sure these dolls will do everything they can to suck up to the democraps. Ive noticed that womens lib crap never happens when they bring the bill for dinner. correct me if im wrong wasnt it better days with aunt bea and donna reed???
Let me guess. Early 50's, and living with your mom, right? And, you'll be living with your mom until the day she dies...and maybe for several days after.
The reference to Aunt Bea and Donna Reed would put him in his late 50's at the youngest. I'm hoping his (and it is is a he) comment is a missed attempt at sarcasm. Otherwise you are probably correct about living in a basement, maybe even a fallout shelter.
Candy is one of the many radical liberals that CNN uses so often.
CNN ratings have crashed in last 12 years.
CNN keeps applying the same formula over and over again, and worse yet they expect different results !
They bring in republicans or conservatives once in a while..but they made sure to find the dumbest ones or the ones that have the worst speaking/debating abilities. So that all their Liberal guests can be made to look better. Its been that way for a very long time.
Wow-I didn't realize George Will and David Gergen were liberal, or dumb and inarticulate, but you learn something new every day. Thank you for your vast stores of knowledge and illluminating the masses. Your undoubtedly excellent education and advanced degrees have served you well. Keep up the good work-it's encouraging to know so many of the voting public are so well informed.
Problem with Candy is that she is NOT a journalist
A true journalist will not be so BIASED or PREDISPOSED as Candy is
Candy is a MEGA-HYPER BIASED LIBERAL
Frankly, I think Obama would not agree to any debates unless they were ALL moderated by radical liberals !!
Candy is radical. She can not be trusted.
Thank you for posting this advice. I was appauled when Soledad's producer this morning wouldn't give Caole the time to give the advice she offered. After the break you aired a guy talking about sandwiches. Really. Thanks for making a gesture at fixing such an outrageous mistake in judgement.
When I think Candy Crowley, i think now there's a face meant for high definition television.
Carole Simpson is still blatantly biased! In this day in age with the internet involved, a republican and a democrat can and do get death threats, which is pathetic for the start of the 21st century. In addition, I find it insulting that Ms. Simpson is, all of a sudden, the moral indicator of gender bias. A bad moderator could be either a man or a woman regardless of their gender. A moderator's duty is to faciliate both sides of the debate and not inject their own personal ideology. As such, Candy Crowley has recently injected her own personal ideology in her reporting. In order for Candy Crowley to be a great moderator is to engender a debate where both sides have equal footing. The whole point of these debates is for the voters to determine whom they should vote for. If Candy Crowley can do that, she will be the best moderator ever.
I don't think much substance will come from the debate anyways. Mitt is a seasoned pro at question dodging. I'm betting he will switch off topic on every single question. His evasive techniques have gotten him this far. His base has no interest in him or his policies. They only know they hate Obama. He'll have no problem slipping through these upcoming debates.
Cause we know what Obama's canned responses will be...
Bush left me a mess
You didn't build that
Equal prosperity/sharing wealth–over equal opportunity
Republicans want to kill grandma
Seriously..Oblamer and the Dem's need to come up with new talking points....these old ones are so tiring
All taken out of context. Obama isn't perfect. But really, on a candid meter i give Obama a 6 and Romney a 1.
And this isn't the toothless inbred town hall crowd that booed the golden rule, a gay soldier and shouted let em die...
This series of debates will have much more class, dignity and decorum with the POTUS. Also, it'll have 100 additional positions held by flippy Mitt since last year.
" They only know they hate Obama."
Obama is running from, not on his record and all he has done is perform character attacks its like he's shooting at Romney from the WH drone control room.
How can you be considered a moderator, after slamming Ryan after his announcement. Does 'death wish ticket' mean something to you? How can you be considered impartial? If I were you, I would recuse myself or at least, be very ashamed. This is journalistic malpractice at it's worst!
OK but no Uterus questions.
i'm sure she will do just fine. hope she doesn't get her head bit off like jon king.
Some good advice for Ms. Crowley. Work really hard to be neutral with your questions and your responses to questions. That would be a big step forward from your consistent far left advocacy on CNN.
Well said. When do we get someone more conservative or even neutral to ask the questions?
Wallace, it doesn't matter who asks the questions, the responses should be the same.
Legitimate questions aren't biased. The answers will be though.
Keep blaming the MSM for the weak repub candidates. The debates really showed how they were sooo prepared to take the helm and could speak effectively on a number of topics...
Don't be offended if your biased opinion is ignored.
Just because disagrees with what Fox News tells you doesn't mean they are biased. Well, maybe towards the actual truth rather than the fiction that Fox News would have you believe.
"Ignore those who want to give you advice on everything", like this whole article.
Well I have my reservations about Candy ... but this much I do know, if she appears to be unbiased ... this will be the biggest upward career move of her life.
moderators should be like referees. if you remember the moderator, they did a bad job. there is no good job. there is a purpose. to get as much information out to the public as possible without favoring anyone. now, given all the parameters that the lawyers will put on the debate to restrict it, this is nothing more than another tv sitcom. so on that note the best advice would be, dont take yourself so seriously – you are not edward murrow.
One last thought – could this election actually be americans (or at least its politicians since the electoral college, not the citizens) choosing how the USA fades into oblivion? at a time when we need a leader, we have a president who knows what the problems are, and is all at once ignoring them, blaming the prior administration, and completely stumped on how to fix them, and an opponent who really has no clue what the problem is.
I hope they have a sturdy chair for Candy to sit on.
A cowardly, disgusting response. I'll bet you're not much to look at. Candy could lose a few pounds but you'll always be stupid.
Thats a homerun! Thanks Romana
If my memory serves me correct, I thought Gwen Eiffel (spelling) moderated a presidential debate not too long ago. Perhaps it was the VPOTUS debates. In any case I think Ms. Crowley will do a very good job.
You're thinking of the Vice-Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
I believe Candy Crowley will do just fine. She is more than capable of handling herself and the candidates. Good luck Candy.
20 years later Carole Simpson has to point out she received death threats because her alleged Democrat bias was pointed out by Rush.....No one, to my knowledge has concluded a debate will be tainted by a Republican bias. The reason the Democratic bias is pointed out is because it is alive and well in the MSM.
Candy Crowley saying Mitt has a "Death Wish" for the ticket by choosing Paul Ryan has shown her true colors.
No Dem bias there.....
As I remember, she did a terrible job.
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