PBS to host minority-themed debate


Tavis Smiley will be the moderator later this month with the eight announced candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination face off in yet another debate. The focus will be on domestic issues, and as PBS puts it, it will be "…an historic broadcast marking the first time that a panel exclusively comprised of journalists of color will be represented in primetime."

The panelist include NPR's Michel Martin, nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. and USA Today/Gannett columnist DeWayne Wickham. Tavis Smiley's book "Covenant With Black America" will provide an outline for the debate which is expected to hit on topics like health care, housing, Katrina relief, the economy and the environment. The event will be held at Howard University in Washington DC on 6/28/07. A second debate with the Republican candidates is scheduled for Morgan State University in Baltimore MD on 9/27/07.

SmartMedia observation: This event, along with a Congressional Black Caucus sponsored event coming up next January on CNN, will give Democratic candidates political cover. Most of the candidates have refused to participate in the CBC event scheduled for Fox News Channel. This event means they can claim interest in the concerns of minorities and still get away with snubbing Fox, making it even less likely that there will be a sudden mass change of heart among the candidates. Not that such a thing seemed likely anyway.