Debate Commission, Networks Have No Plans To Fact-Check Candidates Live

A cameraman is silhouetted against an an American flag during preparations for the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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In advance of the first presidential debate on Monday, the head of the Commission on Presidential Debates as well as major networks would not commit to fact-checking candidates live.

In a Sunday interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter, the commission’s executive director, Janet Brown, said that she was not in favor of fact-checking by NBC anchor Lester Holt, who will moderate the debate Monday.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to get the moderator into essentially serving as the Encyclopedia Brittanica,” Brown said. “I think personally if you start getting into fact-checking I’m not sure, what is a big fact, what’s a little fact, and if you and I have different sources of information, does your source about the unemployment rate agree with my source?”

While the commission lets moderators decide how to respond, Brown added, she recommended that they “facilitate” fact-checking between candidates rather than take an active role in doing it themselves.

Major networks were also unwilling to commit to the chyron fact-checks they’ve taken to using to correct candidates in real time, according to a Monday report from Politico.

Univision and Telemundo told Politico that they were not planning to fact-check candidates on screen, citing the rapid-fire editorial and technical response required.

NBC did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Politico later reported that Bloomberg TV will fact-check statements made during the debate on screen.

This post has been updated.

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Notable Replies

  1. I think there’s a case to be made for the moderator not to fact-check, but for the networks to refuse? That’s unprofessional, to say the least.

  2. Cowardly fools. For the sake of a few points in ratings it’s ‘not their job’ to inform the voting electorate. Yep. PATRIOTS for sure.

  3. Avatar for tao tao says:

    The moderator however may eye roll, jaw drop, gasp, genuflect, & ROFL.

  4. and Interrupt (but only Hillary) don’t forget that one.

  5. The media and the rest of society’s institutions have simply failed to deal with the radicalization of the Republican party. Trump in some ways is an outgrowth of the right-wing noise machine, the difference being mostly quantitative. He’s presented a geometric increase in the denial of reality and manipulation of half the public’s mind. His flurry of lies amounts to a DDoS attack on any opponent. I hope for everyone’s sake the Hillary people have a strategy for this.

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