Commission on Presidential Debates
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 by the Democrat and Republican parties as a means to run debates between presidential candidates. The organization is a privately funded, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. Its stated goal is "to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates." However, the Commission is widely criticized for its exclusion of third party candidates. Their informative value is questionable, as the candidates agree on the debate's entire context beforehand. Walter Cronkite remarked, "The debates are part of the unconscionable fraud that our political campaigns have become a format that defies meaningful discourse. They should be charged with sabotaging the electoral process."