Debates and Fact Checking

With the first presidential debate approaching (Sept 29), I wanted to see how people felt about fact-checking and the debates.

There’s the big question, do you think the things candidates say during debates should be fact checked? If not, why? But if so, how should that fact checking happen? Fact checking debates could happen in several different ways, there’s …

  1. Real-time Fact Checking: This is where the debate moderator questions/corrects a candidate in real-time during the debate. The moderator could also frame questions that address incorrect statements a candidate has made in the past.

  2. Built-In Fact Checking: The debate format includes a segment during the debate where fact-checkers identify false/questionable statements. The moderator would then pose follow up questions based on the findings of the fact checkers.

  3. Network Fact Checking: All fact checking is left up to the various news and media outlets post-debate. This is basically what happens now to varying level of degree.

IMO, option 1 is the most fraught for error. Leaving it up to the moderator to make the decision on when and when not to correct/challenge a statement becomes tricky. It leaves too much power in the hands of a moderator, who already has a difficult job. Asking them to fact check in real-time is too much to ask of them.

I tend to like option 2 because it gives fact checkers a chance to editorialize their decisions and findings. And I think it’s important to challenge candidates when they express questionable/inaccurate statements. There’s obviously issues with this option too. Viewers might question whether every statement was fact checked or if they are cherry-picking.

Finally, there’s the question, if you fact check … does it even matter? I think a majority of voters don’t necessarily care if the candidate they support says something inaccurate. But, I think there is a growing minority who do care. And care a lot. We only have to thank the Trump administration for promoting the importance of accuracy and facts these past 3 years.

So what do you think? Do debates need fact-checking? And if so, how would you like to see it applied?

#1 would get into to much back and forth between the moderator and the candidates.

#2 I’m open for it but there must be a defined structure. Such as a 30 minute debate segment on a subject area followed by up to 15 minutes of fact checking where follow-up questions can be asked to challenge a statement by a candidate. Challenge questions must be evenly divided between the two candidates or the fact check time relinquished and the debate continues.

No…then it between moderator and candidate.

Fact check afterwards.

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I think its 100% crazy this is a topic that needs converstation.
People will say “Politicians always have lied” but i dont think that is true. Politicans have ALWAYS spinned. But never flat out lies.

For instance - in a debate saying something like “I handled covid well and knew it would be a pandemic, which is why i stoped flights to china” is spin. It think if Trump said it, he is wrong but its not a lie because im sure he beleives it.

When Trump goes out and says “I signed the VA Choice bill into law, something no one else could do” that is a flat out lie. It was signed in 2014 but he still says it.

We have always had spin. We have always had politicans have said things they were mistaken on. Very seldomly have we had President flat out lie, been told they were wrong, and STILL continues to lie about ti.
VERIFABLE facts that they lie about.

I think in the case of a flat out lie -it should be corrected by the other canidate and followed up on. But the Moderator should LET IT GO. What i dont want to see happen is something like Trump says he signed the VA choice act and then a new question is asked and when Biden goes back to point out the flat out lie, the moderator stops em and says “We are moving on”.

Basicly get rid of the rule that pops up where we say canidates sholdnt talk directly to the other canidate. They 100% should!.
Honestly -What i would love to see in a debate.
Moderator says “tell us why people should vote for you” and then sits back and lets the canidates discuss between themselfs. Moderator only job should be to ensure both get roughly even amount of time to talk without the other person speaking over the entire time, and to push forward the discussion once a topic has been discussed to death.

I like real-time fact checking. Whenever any of them answer a question that is untruthful and not based on facts the first next thing to come out of any moderators mouth is a correction. I know that would get under Trump’s thin skin. Lying bih…

I don’t really want to do fact checking in the middle of a debate. Afterwards, we can discuss.

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There should be a buzzer that sounds every time a candidate tells a lie.
Of course no one could hear Trump talk over the constant buzzing.

In more seriousness, let the candidates call out the bs, and let the networks do all of the actual fact checking and discussion afterwords.


You can’t rely on fact checking from the fake news. They knew their Roosky collusion story was a conspiracy theory the entire 3 years they told you it was true.

Only fools would keep trusting them…

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Two different reports concluded there was collusion.

Let me guess, you read neither of them?

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I really like #2. The follow up segment to fact checks should be the majority of a political debate. I wouldn’t mind a second round of follow ups to the follow ups as well.

Agreed. This could go very wrong, very quickly.

Again agreed. I wonder if any candidate would agree to such terms? “We’re basically gonna call you out on your bull ■■■■ . You ok with that?”

I think there is a place to correct really big lies and exaggerations. Numbers, dates, quantities, etc. If a candidate is incorrect about a verifiable truth, it should be pointed out.

There has already been a huge push by networks to incorporate fact-checking into their coverage (Thanks Trump!) and I think that will be a huge part of their coverage in the upcoming debates.

Yeah but I think we all know it’d rarely be that simple. 99% of the time, people will want to fact check the fact checkers.

You have the ability to choose a news source. Would you trust Fox News fact checkers?

Definitely, but if you stick to the “It is 190K COVID deaths, not 150K.” it becomes very hard to claim a fact checker is wrong.

then the candidate may claim they were talking about a specific timeframe. Idk, it’s just not simple a lot of the time although I see what you’re saying.

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If fact checks were actual verifiable this is the way it is facts, that no one can deny, fine.

I don’t want to have the debates interfered with by subjective opinion pieces calling themselves “fact checks”.

It should be fact checked after the debate by adding cartoon sound effects where appropriate.

Wah wah
Zinger sound effects

I’ll be adding them in real-time as I listen to the debates.

@WorldWatcher there is a flaw where you put the position that the challenge questions should be divided evenly between the two candidates. It is possible in fact highly probable, that one of the candidates might utter many more false statements than the other candidate.