The path to November 8th will begin its final stretch today in the United States, as the first of three presidential debates are scheduled to kick off in New York, promising to be one of the most watched events and high stakes debates in recent memory.
Despite the propensity of neutral moderators however, Bloomberg TV will be playing a key role in the event by providing on-screen fact checking of statements made by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Both candidates are presently polling at historic lows in terms of trustworthiness and honesty, making Bloomberg’s involvement all the more enticing.
Bloomberg is unique in this regard relative to other venues that typically rely on such fact checking mechanisms for post-debate coverage. That the group has opted to conduct it on-screen and live during the event will be an interesting dynamic for viewers.
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At this stage in the electoral cycle in the United States, most voters are already locked in to their candidate. However, political scientists and campaign managers on both sides are fighting to secure independent voters, who could easily swing the election for either candidate.
Bloomberg’s initiative has to be welcome news for Hillary Clinton supporters, most of whom have long petitioned for aggressive fact-checking during such events, accusing Donald Trump of fabricating statements and reneging on previous stances. Pressure for fact checking has reached a crescendo especially after a recent trial debate in which NBC’s Matt Lauer was browbeaten for not correcting several false statements from Trump during a widely viewed presidential forum on the network.
The logistics of on-screen fact checking is often hard to execute in real time, resulting in many other networks and groups not adopting the idea. How successful Bloomberg TV is in conducting its live fact checking could dictate how widespread the practice is in upcoming elections.
The debate itself will be nationally televised and scheduled for 9:00 PM EST Monday.