Donald Trump

Moderators Should Do More Than Fact-Check Debates: They Should Proactively Present Candidates With Facts

Journalists have a responsibility to present voters and candidates with accurate information.

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As tonight's presidential debate approaches, an odd meta-debate has developed about whether the moderator should fact-check the two candidates in real time during the event.

The correct answer to this seems pretty clear: Of course the moderator should fact check the candidates—both of them. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have long records of lies and misleading statements that should provide plenty of fodder for correction and clarification, and voters have a clear interest in seeing how candidates respond to fact-based pushback.

But debate moderators should focus less on employing facts reactively and think more about how to employ them to set-up their questions: Rather than making a point of quibbling over every detail, the goal should be to present the candidates with objective, policy-specific reality and then the candidates to respond.

Now, you can understand why a moderator might want to avoid fact checking during a debate. The debate is supposed to be between the two candidates, not between a candidate and the moderator. Real-time fact checking is risky, because moderators, even good ones, always stand a chance of getting their facts wrong too. Sometimes journalistic fact checkers have checked facts that are in dispute, or are not even facts. It's a difficult job. Talking to The New York Times about his role moderating a debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore, Jim Lehrer said he "just wanted to make sure that their positions and differences would be explained by them. I thought it was up to each candidate to correct the other's facts. Because if I fact-checked everything, that's all I'd do all night." Instead, he saw himself as a "facilitator."

But the risks don't outweigh the responsibilities. Moderators are not merely question-asking machines designed to elicit responses; they are journalists with commitments to presenting accurate information to the public and serving as surrogates for voters.

So if a candidate, in the course of explaining his or her views on a subject, makes a claim that appears to be false, the moderator should always consider a follow-up saying so, and asking how they respond. That's better for voters, who have an interest in finding out how candidates respond when presented with a correction, and it's also fair to the candidate, who then has an opportunity to make a case for his or her understanding of the issue and the relevant facts.

Obviously this approach can obviously be taken too far. If a candidate claims savings of half a trillion dollars from a proposed program, and the best estimate is more like $400 billion, it's probably best left for those with column inches to fill to note the discrepancy. Moderators should avoid quibbling and nitpicking. But as a general guideline, a follow-up that challenges a factual claim isn't a way of taking sides or abandoning the role of facilitator. It's a way of eliciting important information about how a candidate understands an issue by presenting the candidate with facts and asking for a response.

And that—even more than the kinds of on-the-fly corrections we typically associate with fact checking—should be the primary goal of the moderator with regard to facts: to expose candidates to policy reality and see how they react.

This is not quite the same as real-time fact checking, though there is some overlap. Instead, it requires journalists to establish a factual reality for the candidate to confront.

To see how this can work, it's worth looking at one of the best moments from the primary debates. Back in March, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump about his claim that he could cut $300 billion a year from the federal deficit by negotiating Medicare drug prices. Wallace put up a full-screen slide showing that the Medicare only spends $78 billion a year on drugs. How, exactly, Wallace asked, could Trump manage $300 billion in savings? The two went back and forth for a bit, with Wallace trying to elicit a clear answer and Trump vaguely suggesting that the savings would come from the economy as a whole, and Wallace noting that this was not the same as the federal deficit. Trump ended by seeming to insist that his $300 billion savings number was accurate.

It was a remarkably instructive exchange, one that not only aimed to provide information about policy, but also showed how Trump reacted when presented with a contrary set of facts (by trying to change his story, and then insisting that his old story, impossibly, was correct).

That makes it the sort of exchange that should serve as a model for how moderators can bring facts into the debate: It was policy based, grounded in specifics, and it asked a candidate to clarify one of his own proposals—pretty much the definition of a question that is fair game for a candidate and relevant to voters.

Sure, there was an element of fact checking to the question, in that it "checked" one of Trump's policy proposals, but it was effective mostly because it presented accurate information to viewers by building that information into the question itself. In other words, it did what journalists are supposed to do: It established clear facts on the ground, and then asked questions designed to elicit additional relevant information from there.

NEXT: Can Trump Be Trusted on Supreme Court Appointments?

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    1. I feel sorry for him, too.

      1. It’s like he doesn’t even know what 21st century journalists do.
        They DESTROY!

        Or pass on the conventional wisdom and talking points of the ruling class.

        1. Remember there are “lies, damn lies and statistics”. The same can be said of “facts”. Facts can be skewed by perspective, and I don’t trust the perspective of the chosen moderators. Here an example of two related facts. 90% of hard drug users used cannabis. 90% of cannabis users do not use hard drugs. Both are true, but which fact is more relevant? It depends on perspective.

    2. I mean, he’s right, however The Combover Mafia will soon arrive, Suderman’s point will fall on deaf, orange ears.

      1. Pantsuit Mafia to follow…

        1. I’m not sure AddictionMyth, his alter-ego dajjal, and Tony really count as a “mafia.” More “The Three Stooges” than ‘Goodfellas”.

      2. Eh, it’s a lot of clearlys and obviouslys for a question that he’s pretty much side-stepping. Asking informed, specific questions to the candidates, and following up in accordance with the premises of the question, can be called “fact-checking,” I guess. But the debate going on seems to be purely about reactive checking and corrections.

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  1. Wallace put up a full-screen slide showing that the Medicare only spends $78 billion a year on drugs. How, exactly, Wallace asked, could Trump manage $300 billion in savings?

    Hadn’t he already said at this point that one of his “solutions” to the federal debt was to purposefully default on some of it? Boom: hyper-inflation. It’ll be super easy to come up with $300 billion in savings from a program that is $78 billion today in a couple years when there’s 1000% inflation.

    1. I thought that was Sanders who thought he could save 300B on drugs a year

      1. You take enough of the right kind of drugs, you can save as much as you want on pretty much anything.

    2. Most politicians talk about reductions and savings over a ten year span. $30 billion/year x 10 years = $300 billion.

  2. Prediction: Cankles will unabashedly repeat her claim that Comey exonerated her in the email scandal and it will go unchallenged by the moderator.

    1. This is what Peter McCuckerman is calling for.

      1. HIV once again uses “cuck” unironically.

        1. “HIV once again uses “cuck” unironically”

          While shilling for a New York liberal.

    2. And her opponent…

  3. What do we call it when reporters ask questions of a subject who has no interest in being truthful and will say whatever sequences of words the subject things will benefit him the most regardless of their verity or falsity?

    Oh yes! Wasting their time!!!!!!

    1. That’s why this election is amazing. Usually at this point we’re pretending like each candidate is making serious proposals that will actually be implemented when they take office. That really is a waste of our time. But this year, instead of debating the minutiae of who’s DOA tax plan will save middle-class American’s more money or who’s never to be implemented health care scheme will make Epi-pens the cheapest, we just get to stand back and watch two megalomaniacs duke it out, shoving aside all facts or reason. It’s wonderful.

      1. I’m holding my vote for the candidate that will offer me a pony.

        1. In previous elections this would have led to lot’s of back and forth: was the pony plan realistic? pro-pony people would haul out the numbers to show that, while it sounded fantastic, it would really work. anti-pony people would get blue faced arguing that these ponies were going to destroy the economy. but everybody would pretend like if the pro-pony candidate was elected, then there would actually be ponies. like, the day after the election, your pony would be in the mail.

          This election: one candidate calls the other a lying criminal, that candidate calls the first candidate a racist, and we all get to call it a day.

          It’s great because we’ve stopped pretending like we’re actually debating serious issues.

        2. I hope you don’t expect it to still be living.

  4. what journalists are supposed to do

    Spend a lot of time on Twitter?

    1. And the rest of it at cocktail parties?

  5. I think we should have factcheckers debating each other.

    1. Just get some journalists on stage and let the candidates sit these things out. That’s all that really matters.

  6. Moderators are not merely question-asking machines designed to elicit responses; they are journalists with commitments to presenting accurate information to the public and serving as surrogates for voters.

    Someone should be checking into this stuff for me. If I vote for the wrong candidate because the moderators didn’t do their job, it’s not my fault.

    In any case, I’m certain the moderators don’t have a dog in this fight.

    1. “In any case, I’m certain the moderators don’t have a dog in this fight”

      It’s CNN. Of course they have a dog in the fight, THE HILLDAWG!

    2. For reasons that escape me “journalists” are chosen to act as moderators in these things and as such their only job during the debate is to be question-asking machines and time-keeping machines. The debate is between the candidates and not the candidates and the moderator. After the debate Holt can go back to being a journalist and fact check away.

  7. No, they don’t, Suderman, you fucking clown. No one is casting a ballot for Lester Holt. And if the other candidate can’t hold their opponent accountable for stupid shit they say in the moment, they aren’t qualified. Period. The debates are about seeing the two candidates interact and present their cases to the voters.

    The media has their chance to have their say on anything and everything during the debates. They will have plenty of time to spin the narrative, and as you’re sorry ass (Suderman’s) as shown, that is just what they’ll do.

    It’s pretty god damn pathetic how terrified the Hillary-bots out there are of putting that withered hag on stage with a populist buffoon.

    1. The problem is, is that Trump probably doesn’t know anything about the issues and Hillary is a pathological liar who couldn’t tell the truth if she tried.

      1. Sounds like entertainment. That may be the core issue, politics as entertainment. Where scoring points is more important than principles.

  8. Can you trust the journalists to get the fact straight as well though? How many of them believe the the minimum wage increase will help the poor? How many of them believe that cutting regulations or so much as one dollar from entitlement spending will have people dying in the streets?

    1. Didn’t Candy Crowley fuck something up when she tried this in whatever debate she moderated in 2012?

      1. It had to do with Benghazi. Republicans are still whining about it, as though if Mitt would have won the election if Candy said he was right.

        1. Trump won the nomination because he isn’t a Goddamned pussy like Mittens.

          1. Trump was too much of a pussy to compete with Mitt in 2012. Sad!

      2. If I recall correctly, she corrected Romney’s claim that Obama refused to call Bhengazi a terrorist attack for two weeks afterwards and then it turned out that he did mention “an act of terror” but was probably referring to 9/11/01 when he said it.

        But I don’t know, someone’s probably fact checked the fact checker’s fact check of Crowley’s fact check by now.

        1. She lost her job. Karma does work.

    2. The example used in the article was actually a good one — how do you cut $300 billion from a program that spends $78 billion? It can’t be spun or argued against; it’s cold hard numbers.

      1. He’s absolutely right in theory, but in practice everyone knows that there will never, ever be any fact-checking of Hillary Clinton by the national media.

      2. It’s the multiplier effect.

    3. If you believe that everything you hear a CNN anchor say is the gospel, then I suppose you could believe that.

    4. Can you trust the journalists to get the fact straight as well though?

      Of course not. I almost spit coffee at that.

      The journalist’s job is to convince you of the shit they’re selling. Same as ever.

  9. Adding facts and charts to debates will require reading comprehension on the part of the debaters.

    1. *** And reporters ***

  10. What’s going to kill Donald Trump in the debate– or should I say, what will potentially kill Trump in the debate is Trump does make more cold factual errors than Clinton does. Trump says shit that’s just verifiable in a single yes-or-no answer.

    Clinton has engaged in what’s essentially an ongoing criminal enterprise and it seems that all of her problems aren’t “facts” in grade-school sense.

    To say that Hillary broke the law when she set up a private server seems like a simple “fact” to anyone who pays attention to the rigors federal rules, but it’s easier to fog and obscure the simple “yes” in that case. Ditto for everything else Hillary does.

    1. Many of the lies Trump tells FEEL right, however, especially to his fanboy base. No amount of fact-based counterarguments will get them past the feeling that, yes, of course there must have been thousands of Muslims in NJ celebrating on rooftops when the WTC came crashing down and this is something which only Trump has the balls to publicly acknowledge. The completely-fabricated “story” plays to his base’s basest beliefs about Muslims, that the media is “protecting” minority groups out of political correctness, that Trump “says it how it is” no matter the criticism, etc.

      Hillary is a lawyer. Her lies are the same lies lawyers tell every day — they’re generally harder to pin down, especially (as you said) you get into the morass of vaguely-worded laws and regulations.

      1. This is a perfect example of why the media has no business fact-checking anyone.

        Trump’s story about the muslim 9/11 celebrations is not “completely fabricated”.

        It was largely true. Many of us who live in the NY/NJ television viewing area saw those exact same reports on the news that Trump described. Yes, there were local news reports of muslims dancing in NJ in celebration of 9/11. Yes, those reports were also overlaid with the videos from Gaza where thousands were celebrating in the street. Trump’s description of what he saw on the news is confused, but is not “fabricated”.

        the way this is held up as a prime example of his xenophobia and lies says a lot more about the deceit of the media and the progs than it does about Trump honesty.

        1. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best” comes to mind.

        2. This is a perfect example of how Trump gets away with blatant lies because people will do mental gymnastics to justify whatever he says. It doesn’t matter that Trump’s claim is factually incorrect. It doesn’t matter that there’s no substantive documentation of this phenomena from that time – or that his claim of thousands celebrating in the streets isn’t some unimportant detail of the claim, but pretty damn central (mass crowds cheering on the attacks is a pretty different situation from a couple of random crazies cheering) to his point. Nope, despite all that, Trump’s claim isn’t dishonest for flimsy reasons, and this is actually an example of how the media lies and is out to get him.

          1. That (mexico not “sending their best”) is true praexalogically, I think. Like you don’t sneak across an international border if you’re rich and successful where you are.

  11. …they are journalists with commitments to presenting accurate information to the public and serving as surrogates for voters.

    Oh. My. GAWD.

    1. McCardle must have his balls in a jar somewhere.

    2. serving as surrogates for voters.

      One more reason not to be a voter: journalists act as your surrogate.

  12. The moderators, members of the media, should challenge the candidates with the facts as they see them. An excellent idea on the surface and a catastrophically bad one when you think about it. During an interview it’s another story but a debate isn’t an interview.

  13. Journalists have a responsibility to present voters and candidates with accurate information.

    It’s hard to imagine a more responsible group of people than journalists.

  14. So if a candidate, in the course of explaining his or her views on a subject, makes a claim that appears to be false, the moderator should always consider a follow-up saying so, and asking how they respond.

    Imagine a Q&A with Hillary on Benghazi or private email servers or FOIA requests or the cost of making everything free or…

    Yeah, I’m in agreement, let’s not fact check because I know the above will never happen… but I do admit it would derail the entire debate into a tit-for-tat between Hillary and the moderator.

  15. How about the moderators be as involved as they were during the Lincoln-Douglas debates?

  16. If a candidate claims savings of half a trillion dollars from a proposed program, and the best estimate is more like $400 billion…

    Bad example. No program promoted by either of these jokers could possibly save money. The best estimate for a program that claims $0.5T is that it will cost taxpayers $100B to administer and will fail to deliver the promised savings.

  17. Horseshit. Who’s facts? CNN facts? No thank you. The job of moderators is to ask questions, and let the candidates debate the topic. Unbiased questions would be nice, but we know good and well CNN and all of the other major media outlets are incapable of such a thing.

    1. That’s a question I regularly ask myself: who is facts?

      1. Whose facts, smartass!

      2. Be gentle, the dude lives in Baltimore.

        1. On purpose!?!?!?

      3. I’d love to become acquainted with facts, but that fellow’s been dodgy. I keep being told at parties “that’s the facts” and by the time I turn around to see who they’re referring to, the bastard’s slipped away. Why is it that I can easily find tons who will say that they know the facts, but can’t verify that the facts knows them? It’s like a system where everyone claims an Erd?s number of 1, but that their real number is so high that everyone stopped keeping track.

  18. Nobody tunes into the game to watch the refs.
    Let ’em play

    Besides, facts are just facts. They need context to have meaning, and providing all the necessary background info to set the fact within context, on the fly no less, is not likely to be achieve the alleged goal of ultimate truth.
    Sure, the moderator can serve up a bunch of rebuttal questions like Chris did on something the candidates said once upon a time on the campaign trail, but then the moderator is acting as the puppet master.
    Instead, just serve of broad-themed topics (what would you do about Syria), and then do nothing more than keep time.

    1. What percentage of the electorate are policy gurus? 2%? Policy and facts do not matter in a presidential election. It’s purely a popularity contest. Trump is something different than anyone has seen before. Which makes it more interesting. Who knows what this guy will do? Hillary is overly predictable, stiff, and has no charisma at all. That may be a bigger factor than Trump not knowing policy or facts. Sorry, but most of the American general public are not politically literate. If they were, what they would see is a brash blowhard debating a proven liar. Really, there is nothing else to see here. But I’ll say it again, the dems and their leftist media are making a big mistake by focusing on making this about policy facts, instead of trying to instill some type of personality or charisma into Hillary.

      1. Two percent is awfully generous.

      2. But I’ll say it again, the dems and their leftist media are making a big mistake by focusing on making this about policy facts, instead of trying to instill some type of personality or charisma into Hillary.

        Endowing the Hilbot with the ability perceive, understand and communicate human-like features is never going to happen. And as for focusing on “facts” and details, it’s what the left absolutely excels at in the sense that they have the superhuman ability to seamlessly extricate facts from their context and paint false portrayals of reality that go on to be accepted as conventional wisdom.

      3. I think it was MSNBC who said that Trump needs to use the debate to flush out details in his policy proposals, which is hilarious. I’m sure he’ll get right on that rather than focusing on demeanor and presence.

        1. The left never expected the polls to be where they are at this point. They should have been paying attention when Trump systematically dismantled the entire GOP field. But they got overconfident that a terrible candidate like Hillary could easily beat him just because she’s a Democrat.

          1. Her “7 debunked lies” video is even worse from a facts/perception viewpoint. For example I get to hear “Clinton want to abolish the 2nd Amendment” on a video that *her campaign* produced. A month from now will I remember her counterargument or while I vaguely remember something about her and the 2nd Amendment in a negative way?

      4. I agree the voters overwhelmingly decide based upon who they like and not based upon the results of their isidewith quiz. All the more reason for the moderator to leave “facts” and “fact checking” out of the equation. Voters won’t understand the context of the “fact-based” question. Simply toss a piece of red meat into the arena and let the candidates go for it

  19. As tonight’s presidential debate approaches, an odd meta-debate has developed about whether the moderator should fact-check the two candidates in real time during the event.

    That sounds suspiciously like doing the other candidates job for them. Maybe they should get Nick Gillespie to moderate the debate, that should turn out well.

  20. The truth has no place in these joint press conferences. The only difference between the two candidates is which emotion the intend to play on.

  21. “Journalists have a responsibility to present voters and candidates with accurate information.”

    This doesn’t appear to be what journalism is about these days.

    1. Trump must literally be hitler

      1. How dare you compare me to Trump.

        1. Fuck this. I’m out.

  22. And what better way is there to present the American people with facts, truth, and reality than to provide Hillary with an elevated platform so that on television she appears to the dopey-ass low information voters to to be the World’s Tallest Woman instead of the frail old half-dying midget that she truly is.

    1. I’ve never seen a midget that wide. Does this pantsuit make my butt look big?

    2. An elevated platform seems like a shortsighted attempt to alleviate the height differential that has a statistically significant effect on people’s perceptions. Won’t people notice when she takes a step up to get behind the podium? And don’t politicians usually walk around and shake each others’ hands before/after the debate? Trump has only to walk up to her when she’s not on the platform to shatter the deception. And if she doesn’t leave the platform (and he were clever) he could just make a joke about it by asking the moderator for his own, to keep things fair.

  23. If there are so many examples of how journalist could inject “facts” as they see them into the debates, you would think Suderman could come up with more than one lonely example. They have been having Presidential debates since the 60s or before. You would think Suderman could at least come up with a few examples if this was so easy and obvious.

    And of course the counter to Suderman’s example is Candy Crowley injecting her “fact” that the Bengazi attack was not related to terrorism despite Romney’s claim to the contrary. Suderman somehow expects people to trust journalists to inject facts like the example he gives and to refrain from injecting partisan spin and bullshit the way Crowley did. If Suderman actually thinks anyone believes that or that journalists would do anything but use the opportunity to inject their own spin and line of partisan bullshit twenty times for every one time they managed to stumble on a fact, Suderman is as crazy and delusional as he claims that Trump is.

    Does Suderman not understand how loathsome his profession is and how little the country trusts journalists? Does he really live in that big of a bubble?

    1. Spin is the big word here, John. That’s all so called ‘journalism’, specifically political journalism, is these days. You don’t have to follow politics for that long to realize that. You just have to be sort of paying attention. You can look at the topic of a headline, look at the source, and determine almost word for word what the so called journalist is going to write. Let’s just get rid of the word journalist and replace it with Spin Doctor. Anything that has been so politicized will no longer be objective.

      1. I started watching FoxNews because I could no longer stomach the leftist spin of CNN or MSNBC. It didn’t take long to realize that Fox was just as bad, only coming from the other end of the mainstream political spectrum. I haven’t watched Fox, except for election results, for over 5 years.

        1. I’ll pop between the channels just for the humor of the alternate realities.
          Dems hate on CNN. Sometimes Cooper actually asks tough questions, which just isn’t fair.
          The righties own the radio dial.

      2. The thing is that 99% of political journalists are nasty leftists who are going to spin facts in ways that rarely give Libertarian ideas a fair hearing. Yet, Suderman advocates giving that group of people a larger platform to do that. Suderman cares about his class and his loyalty to other journalists more than he cares about his beliefs, whatever those are.

    2. So, just like Politifact. Probably explains why it gives Suderman such a hard on.

    3. And of course the counter to Suderman’s example is Candy Crowley injecting her “fact” that the Bengazi attack was not related to terrorism despite Romney’s claim to the contrary.

      No, Crowley claimed that Obama had called the attack “terrorism.”

      Read this if you don’t think journalists should be first in line on the day of the ropes and woodchippers.

  24. Obviously this approach can obviously be taken too far.

    Well, obviously.

    1. It can be taken too far, but we can trust journalists not to do it. People say Soave trolls the readership. I am starting to think Suderman is the real troll. There is no way he can believe this shit or write it with a straight face. If he does, he needs a team of specialist to help him get back into touch with reality.

      1. I think he’s engaged in a mutual hate pact with the commentariat. Or else he goes crazy every four years.

  25. The entire notion of political ‘fact-checking’ is horseshit in itself. The media doesn’t seem to look at their own approval ratings much. They instead want to keep up the happy fantasy that they are neutral gatekeepers doing their job.

  26. Yeah, no. This election isn’t about ‘facts’. People believe what they want to believe and disregard the rest. It’s easy enough to read their platforms online and google the answers. And find the ones you want to believe. That people are simply ‘ignorant’ is a huge misconception. In fact, truth is irrelevant to these people. (And this is much more common than you might think!) Better for the candidates to discuss the outcomes of their policies. E.g. what does ‘restore law and order to the inner cities’ look like? And focus on hypocrisies – because what’s the point of being right if you contradict yourself the next day?

    Yes, Hillary is terrible. But Trump is terrible-squared. Laugh about it, shout about it, when you got to choose – anyway you look at this you lose.

  27. The two went back and forth for a bit, with Wallace trying to elicit a clear answer and Trump vaguely suggesting that the savings would come from the economy as a whole, and Wallace noting that this was not the same as the federal deficit. Trump ended by seeming to insist that his $300 billion savings number was accurate.

    No wonder the Democrats shoved Bernie Sanders out of the race. They knew there was no way Bernie could stand up to this kind of scrutiny and survive the media browbeating.

  28. The entire Trump base will believe whatever they want to believe even if it contradicts what they believed yesterday. That’s the essence of being victims of propaganda instead of appreciating what facts and reliable sources are. This is a major feature of American politics and, no, it’s not equivalent on the left. I realize most of you being said victims will not agree.

    So all Lester Holt has to gain by fact checking is an eternity of being bombarded with vile racist tweets from Trump morons. Candy Crowley fixed Mitt Romney’s lie and guess who won’t ever be invited to moderate again.

    So I do like the charts and graphs approach, but it won’t be possible. Unfortunately a cost-benefit reasoning on the part of the moderators this year will be that if their reputations must suffer, let it be for not being tough enough than for becoming part of the liberally biased media. Unless death threats are their thing.

    1. Please clarify what Romney claimed and what Candy Crowley corrected. I don’t recall that event.

      1. The asinine rightwing freakout du jour that Obama didn’t say the Benghazi attack was terrorism fast enough.

        1. I see a lot of conclusory statements here without any actual facts. Please show your work.

          1. They’ve been replaying the clip on TV for days. Do I have to Google it for you?

            1. On your suggestion, i looked this incident up on the Google.

              Romney claimed it took 14 days for Obama to acknowledge that the Benghazi attack was terrorism. Obama claimed he did so the following day during a specific speech. Crowley looked up the speech and declared “He said ‘terrorism'”

              On review of the text of the speech, it appears Obama made one oblique reference to “no acts of terrorism” which was not a specific reference to the Benghazi attack. Crowley herself later admitted that Romney was right and that she dropped the ball.

              Did I omit some critical detail? Because This is hardly the ringing endorsement of real-time fact-checking that you appear to believe it is.

    2. And you support Hillary clinton why? WHat would you consider reliable sources?

      How did you determine it isn’t equivalent (id say it is worse) on the left? Since you are a leftist

      1. Did you go to any type of school at all? They were supposed to teach you what reliable sources are.

        If not, Wikipedia has a pretty good rundown of the subject for the purpose of adding material to its articles. You can get there via Google.

        1. Hm when usually someone makes a claim and i ask for back up…telling me to check google means you were likely talking out of your ass.

        2. You HAVE to be a troll.

    3. FIFY

      The entire __________ base will believe whatever they want to believe even if it contradicts what they believed yesterday.

      GO TEAM _______________!!!!

      1. False equivalence, the stupidest and most toxic pseudo-intellectual take on American politics there is.

        1. False equivalence, the latest leftist talking point when you’re resigned to the fact that your candidate fucking sucks but still want to smugly hector other people.

    4. “This is a major feature of American politics and, no, it’s not equivalent on the left.”

      Correct. Lefties are the all-time champions of propaganda and control 95% of the media. The right just can’t compare.

  29. Of course they shouldn’t. This would be open season for moderators to (intentionally or not) favor one candidate over the other. Also, some of the muddied liar accusations also involve accentuating points while disregarding others. If we are libertarian and believe the people have the ability and responsibility to seek out truth (particularly using the plumbline of the US Constitution), then I think we’ll be OK.

  30. Just gonna leave this here… I mean, that is if we’re interested in facts and stuff.

    http://theduran.com/julian-ass…..sis-syria/

    1. There have been whispers about this for a while, but the media has never bothered to do any actual investigation. From what I have heard, the U.S. was funneling weapons to the Syrian rebels, many of whom were backed by ISIS, to oppose the Assad regime. We had no business having that consulate there in the first place. There were also reports of hundreds of surface-to-air missiles that were stolen during the Benghazi attack, but these quietly disappeared rather quickly.

    2. your facts are sexist!

    3. I read some of the comments on that page. Yikes…the tinfoil hat brigade is awfully strong there.
      I’m on a kick of reading too many comments on too many sites. After the NY Times I should have already learned my lesson…..

      1. I usually prefer reading comments to find sound oppositional arguments to the main. Reason has some of the best. The back and forth illustrates how well an argument holds up. It also is a decent weather vane for certain demos.

  31. try better questions first. then maybe when enough time has passed and we’ve forgotten who candy crowley is, maybe we can consider moderators acting as fact checkers.

  32. “Fact-checking” is clearly the talking point Hillary’s campaign has distributed to its surrogates. It’ll be convenient if she ends up losing so that tomorrow they can all screech “TRUMP LIIIIIIES!!!!!!”

    I seem to recall a similar incident back in 2012. Romney wiped the floor with an under-prepared Obama in Debate #1, and all the lefties were screeching that Romney just made shit up the whole time, though largely failed to specify what.

    1. “BINDERS FULL OF WIMMINZ!!”

      1. I’m pretty sure that received 4 Pinocchios from WaPo on the grounds that an ordinary sized binder is too small to contain one woman, much less many of them.

    2. Lefties lie…see Tony

  33. “Proactively Present”

    which is to say, “present”

  34. “Moderators Should Do More Than Fact-Check Debates: They Should Proactively Present Candidates With Facts”

    Counterpoint: No. Does anyone trust moderators to do this without a bias??

    1. Agreed. I am emphatically against this idea because there is no way the moderators can be trusted to do so fairly.

      If anything, I’d say scrap the moderators altogether.

      1. When you say “scrap,” do you mean use a w_________r?

        /totally a joke, of a satirical nature, not serious

    2. Counterpoint: No. Does anyone trust moderators to do this without a bias??

      I’d say just about everyone left of center.

  35. OK, I suppose that if King Solomon were moderating the debates,* maybe I’d trust him to be fair and wise and not to pass off retarded lefty talking points as “facts.”

    And even on subjects where he’s knowledgeable, King Solomon might be biased – e. g., polygamy (1 Kings 11:3).

    *But if there’s already a King, there would be no need to elect a President, would there?

    1. Solomon is a fucking maniac. He’d probably just slice both of the candidates in half and th—

      Actually, that wouldn’t be the worst outcome of this election…

    2. King Solomon is a Jew and a Zionist. The Left would have a fit.

  36. fact checking is fine when the fact checker is using facts instead of his/her own biases. who will determine who’s statistical facts are correct.

    1. And who will determine which subjects are brought up to be fact checked and which are ignored?

      Given the liberal bias of the media, they would be inclined to put Trump through the fact checking wringer and give Hillary a pass.

      Hillary is the one who has already been in a position of government power and the facts about what she has done as Sec of State are a lot more pertinent than fact checking Trump’s blather.

  37. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    That’s Latin for “don’t let a bunch of clueless, mouth-breathing J-school graduates pose as objective guardians of Truth.”

  38. This is a really long way of saying that Hillary shouldn’t have to police Donald.

  39. I’m just hope, for the GOP, that Trump lives up to his promise of going total apeshit on Hillary Clinton.

    It’s not like he’s going to become president or anything.

    1. Maybe he will and maybe he won’t.

      Maybe it will be evenly-divided so nobody gets an electoral majority, then McMullin takes Utah, and the House chooses him.

      If so, you heard it here first.

  40. I’m not sure the author understands how enormous a chore this “fact checking” would be. Many of the deceptions practiced by politicians are not erroneous facts; they often use poor logic, either as a deliberate deception or because they can’t think logically. So in addition to wrong “facts” the moderators would have to stamp out every post hoc ergo propter hoc etc.

    1. Exactly. It’s impossible, so should be left to the opponent to offer a rebuttal and up to the viewers to assess and draw conclusions.

    2. Fact-checking is easy! Just ask Candy Crowley!

  41. The correct answer to this seems pretty clear: Of course the moderator should fact check the candidates?both of them.

    I see that Suderman has joined a long list of “journalists” that don’t understand the proper role of a debate moderator.

    1. To play roughly the role of Vanna White on her show?

  42. I say give each candidate two fact challenges and a third if their two challenges were ruled in their favor. If it works for another shitty organization why not the COPD.

  43. Yes, they do.That said,it seems to me that the referenced responsibility is more often honored in the breach than in the observance

  44. RE: Moderators Should Do More Than Fact-Check Debates: They Should Proactively Present Candidates With Facts
    Journalists have a responsibility to present voters and candidates with accurate information.

    No journalists do not have a responsibility to present voters and candidates with accurate information. Pravda Amerika is established to ween the masses from such pesky details of facts. Instead, the press corps must continue their crusade for unbridled socialism by appealing to the little people’s emotions. This way the bigger idiot can be elected, and we can continue down the path of enlightened totalitarianism. So let’s all get out our tissues out and be ready to cry at the right moment.

  45. An insane and inane proposal predicated on a naive notion of the press.

  46. While some journalists/moderators would *try* to stick with the facts, this would much to easily become a cover for spinning candidate responses and perhaps inserting their own falsehoods. This would not be good, even if to a small degree. It’s best to allow the candidates to slug it out one lie against another.

  47. If Lincoln-Douglas did not need, or use, a moderator, why would our educated elite need one.
    Eliminate the position subbing an electronic control to cut off the mike at the time limit.

    1. Exactly.

  48. “Moderators are not merely question-asking machines designed to elicit responses; they are journalists with commitments to presenting accurate information to the public and serving as surrogates for voters.”

    On what planet?

  49. I don’t give a fuck about facts and policy. iMHO this is akin to a WWE cage match. If Trump can Cankles to have a seizure that causes her to flop around like a fish, he has my vote.

  50. No. The fact of the matter is simple. “Fact checking” from the media can very, very, easily be manipulated with a demonstrable bias. “Pants on fire” versus “Close Enough for Government Work” is going to be subject to the confirmation biases of even an honest media. And it’s far from clear that our major media are anything close to honest.

    If you don’t understand my point, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable with this proposal where the fact checkers are Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.

  51. That’s an interesting perspective, Mr. Suderman. So let me ask you, when discussing unemployment, which is “fact” the U1 or the U6 number? Also, did the intelligence services of the world’s major power believe Saddam Hussein had WMD, or not? Finally but not exhaustively, will the oceans rise 300 feet over the next century, or just 11 inches?

    This whole “fact-checking” business may be more complex than you and your editor think. 😉

  52. Are you nuts Peter?

    Is global warming a real threat?
    Should the minimum wage be raised?

  53. Moderators Should Do More Than Fact-Check Debates: They Should Proactively Present Candidates With Facts
    Journalists have a responsibility to present voters and candidates with accurate information.

    No they don’t. They have a responsibility to shut up and let the candidates talk. Moderators are superflous.

  54. This entire “fact checking” business already buys into the bogus notion that the purpose of a debate is something akin to an academic test, to see whether the candidates have done their homework, can somehow come up with technocratic solutions to society’s problems, and can somehow connect the dots like they would in an introductory lecture for students.

    In reality, little of what the candidates promise and say has to do with what they will be doing later. The purpose of a debate is to see whether you want a candidate to represent you? That’s a really different question.

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  56. Fact – most of the federal government is un Constitutional.

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