For Immediate Release

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BREAKING: The Commission on Presidential Debates Selects Moderators for Presidential, Vice Presidential Debates

Women’s Group UltraViolet Urges Debate Moderators to Hold Candidates Accountable for Lying and Using Bogus Facts

WASHINGTON - Earlier today, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced its selection of moderators for the three debates between President Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. this fall, as well as the single vice-presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris.

Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” anchor, will moderate the first debate on Sept. 29, to be held in Cleveland; The second debate, a town hall-style forum scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, will be moderated by Steve Scully of C-SPAN; the final presidential debate, on Oct. 22 in Nashville, will be moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC.

In reaction to the announcement, Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet Action, issued the following statement:

As we enter the final and most pivotal moments of the 2020 presidential election cycle, it is absolutely critical that the media not legitimize disinformation or play into biased and discriminatory stereotypes, especially considering what we already know about Donald Trump and his long track record of lies and predictably sleazy tactics to cover up his ongoing failures. 

The media has a right and duty to hold each of these candidates accountable for lying on stage or using bogus facts. This is a baseline standard that must be practiced not only by the moderators, but reporters, editors and producers as well.

Given the civil unrest throughout the nation over the past several months, stakes have never been higher for members of the media to consider the impacts of systemic racism, sexism, and other forms of implicit bias in conjunction with disinformation with every question they ask,  and to challenge candidates who lack or ignore these perspectives in their answers. 

In 2016 we saw media play into attacks against marginalized people—namely women, people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, Muslims, and disabled people— using sexist and racist tropes to garner additional clicks and views. We urge debate moderators to abide by these principles and change course in 2020.”

In August, UltraViolet, in conjunction with  ACRONYM, Color Of Change PAC, Disinfo Defense League, EMILY’s List WOMEN VOTE!, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Votes, SumOfUs, Women’s March, Strategic Victory Fund, GQR Digital, and #ShePersisted., is rolled out “Reporting in an Era of Disinformation: Fairness Guide for Covering Women and People of Color in Politics,” a new guide for reporting on the 2020 general election.


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The guide details how media representation plays a critical role in how candidates of color and women are perceived by voters, and makes specific recommendations designed to help journalists and platforms identify and avoid unintentional sexist and racist bias or disinformation when interviewing, writing, or moderating content about women and people of color running for or holding political office.


Last year, shortly after informing the DNC about UltraViolet Action’s #AskForWomen Pledge, which had secured the support of a number of prominent 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates, the Democratic National Committee announced that it will require female moderators at every 2020 presidential debate


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UltraViolet is an online community of over 550,000 women and men who want to take collective action to expose and fight sexism in the public sector, private sector and the media.  Find out more at

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