Posted on October 25, 2019

Progressive groups across the country are asking debate viewers to #AskThemMore

In light of yesterday’s news that the fifth Democratic primary debate will have all women moderators, a coalition of progressive organizations are urging people across the country to target the moderators as part of a campaign to #AskThemMore.

#AskThemMore is a sustained effort to ensure that issues that are often sidelined in these conversations as “women’s issues” are centered in mainstream policy dialogue about the economy, healthcare, jobs and throughout our political discourse.

“Having an all women moderator team is a good first step, but decisions like this don’t happen in a vacuum,” said Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women’s Law Center. “They happen because real people demand that they happen. We need NBC and the Washington Post to ensure that this all women moderators panel lives up to its promise by dedicating substantive time to questions and discussion about the issues that disproportionately impact women and girls like sexual harassment and violence, abortion, child care, and economic security.”

The #AskThemMore campaign comes on the heels of similar efforts last summer to ensure that debate moderators included significant representation of women and people of color.

“First we demanded that there be at least one woman moderator at every debate and we won. Then we asked that a woman of color moderator be on those stages and we won again. Now we have an all-woman team of moderators for the next democratic primary debate,” said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and Executive Director of UltraViolet. “We see a trend: We win when we come together and insist that women have input on the democratic debate process.”

“This recently announced, all-woman panel of moderators may represent an opportunity for the American people to hear more from the candidates about the issues that matter to families across the country,” said Glynda C. Carr, President and CEO of Higher Heights. “Black women want to have the issues important to them recognized by the candidates, and that begins with having moderators at the table who will ensure that Black women’s voices and votes are represented, on issues such as the economy, healthcare, gun safety, and criminal justice. We will be watching and want to see these important issues addressed.”

“Women across the country are making their voices heard and they want to hear candidates’ positions on issues from paid leave to abortion to violence. These are economic issues, and everyone’s issues. Women deserve to hear moderators #askthemmore,” said Jordan Brooks, Managing Director of the United State of Women.

This historic panel of debate moderators was announced in the midst of an ongoing crisis at NBC surrounding reporting that NBC News execs protected “Today” show host Matt Lauer for three years after he violently raped his colleague, Brooke Nevils; and execs repeatedly tried to kill the reporting that brought down Harvey Weinstein.

“Don’t think for one second that this decision gives NBC a pass,” Thomas continued. “ NBC News allegedly enabled sexual abusers, buried stories about abusers, & silenced survivors. But we can walk & chew gum at the same time. We’ll take the moderator win while still demanding answers. The moderators Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Kristen Welker, and Ashley Parker should press the candidates on their plans to address sexual assault on a national level. But they’ll only have the courage to speak truth to power if people demand it. We plan to help people across the country #AskThemMore.”

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For immediate release: October 25, 2019
Contact: LySaundra Campbell (lcampbell@nwlc.org)

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