Faith, Crime and Africa: Not Debate-Worthy?

Journalists of color aren't shy in noting missed opportunities in the three presidential debates.

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Debates Skipped Faith, Justice, Southern Hemisphere

“Criminal justice reform may top the list of third-rail political issues to be strictly avoided on the campaign trail. And, perhaps as expected, it didn’t rear its head at any of the presidential debates,” Farai Chideya wrote Wednesday for Columbia Journalism Review.

Politicians from both major parties tend to shy away from crime, unless it’s to promise to throw criminals under the jail,” Chideya continued. “This can always change, though, and it’s worth noting that violent crime rose 18 percent last year, according to a new report from the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, the first rise in two decades.”

Justice issues weren’t the only ones that journalists of color complained were missing from the debates. Africa, Latin America and religion were among the others.

“. . . It was billed as a ‘foreign policy’ debate, which to me means a debate on global issues. Instead, it was a national security debate, with almost all of the focus on Arab nations and the Middle East: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Israel,” Chideya wrote Tuesday on

The third and final debate between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney attracted 59.2 million viewers, according to the Nielsen ratings firm, Meg James reported Wednesday for the Los Angeles Times. Viewership was below the first two presidential debates this year, but up about 5 percent compared with the final debate four years ago, when then-Sen. Obama sparred with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz).

A complicating factor: “Monday’s debate faced stiff competition from ‘Monday Night Football’ on ESPN and Fox’s broadcast of a clinching Major League Baseball division series game, in which the San Francisco Giants throttled the St. Louis Cardinals to win a ticket to the World Series,” James noted.

Bryan Llenas wrote for Fox News Latino, “The third and final Presidential Debate on foreign policy began with a reference to the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis

“. . . A powerful open, but by debate’s end[,] viewers were left with just a fleeting mention of Latin America, no substantive discussion of the entire western hemisphere, and not one mention of a brutal drug war affecting one of our largest trade partners — Mexico.”