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Why presidential debates need real-time fact-checking

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posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:33 PM
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The principle of verification would stipulate that the journalist moderators consistently and in real time check the facts.

Claims of fact that are verifiable must surely be challenged or clarified. A moderator who allows assertions to go unchallenged, or who relies on other candidates to do the work of fact-checking on his or her behalf, is failing the viewing audience.
Of course, there must be a process to follow. It should be consistent, applied to candidates within and across parties, so as to address the very serious fears about media partisanship.

It should be in real time, or as close to real time as is reasonable, so assertions can be effectively challenged or clarified by the politicians.

And it should focus on claims of fact, not claims of value. In other words, journalists must challenge only claims that are empirically false. It is clearly permissible for a candidate to describe something as desirable or undesirable based on how it conforms to their chosen ideology or worldview. Robust exchange of views is the essence of politics. It is something else entirely to ascribe characteristics or effects to something that are demonstrably untrue.

This is, admittedly, no easy endeavor.

It seems that candidates can get easy applause for lambasting journalists, while public trust in the media in the U.S. has reached an all-time low.

Much of this distrust stems from widespread public belief about rampant partisan bias on the part of the media – belief that, it should be underlined, has weak empirical support.

Yet, as a scholar concerned with the critical functions journalism fulfills in a democracy, I believe the moral imperative journalists bear in relation to the needs of audiences and to the democratic process overrides these concerns.

Journalists moderating these events must function as journalists.

Distrust in journalism is obviously concerning, but I suspect its causes lie elsewhere than rigorous adherence to verification.

Continue reading at Disinfo.com




posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:37 PM
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a reply to: DisinfoCom

This would be fantastic, both sides have made some crazy claims while sitting in front of those podiums.



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:38 PM
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If they asked them any real questions, or called them on the responses, the debates would last about 15 minutes.

Everybody would just walk off stage, call it 'ambush journalism' and go up 10 points in the polls.

~Tenth



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:39 PM
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The debate participants should be more prepared to challenge lies and fibs by other candidates.

But it would be neat to have a panel of "checkers" right there to push some buttons !!




posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:43 PM
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originally posted by: xuenchen
The debate participants should be more prepared to challenge lies and fibs by other candidates.

But it would be neat to have a panel of "checkers" right there to push some buttons !!



I thought that's what journalists and moderators were for.

Or at least should be for.

~Tenth



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:50 PM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

They don't know everything.

Especially when some are in league with certain parties and/or candidates.

Most debates are scripted to a point.

Each candidate should be allowed to have 2 people present to offer rebuttal material to the candidate during breaks.




posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:52 PM
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The problem is that fact checking is not just a matter of looking up something to see whether it is "true" or not. It involves endless argument, particularly for controversial subjects. Just one example.

1. Indianapolis had a record number of murders last year.
2. That's what you get with lax gun control. Congratulations.
3. Wait. Chicago has strict gun controls and twice as many murders.
4. Yeah, but you have to factor in the population.
5. OK. Factor in the total population and murders are very much lower.
etc....

These kinds of "facts" and arguments cannot be resolved within the real-time nature of a debate in a few seconds. They move way too fast.
edit on 1/18/2016 by schuyler because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:54 PM
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a reply to: xuenchen

I don't really have a problem with that. It would be good to allow them more 'prep' time if they knew they were being fact checked.

Might actually make for some much better replies. Plenty of unpaid interns to do the work too I bet lol

~Tenth



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 02:54 PM
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a reply to: xuenchen

That can only go so far. The candidates are people not omniscient, nor are they Rain Man with a perfect memory. Is silly to expect them to know the facts behind any and all lies their opponent might make on the spur of the moment. Prep only goes so far.

This isn't and shouldn't be Jeopardy.

"I'll take Hillary is full of crap for 500"



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 03:35 PM
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a reply to: DisinfoCom
Here's something that you might find of interest. The following video explains how the debates work.

Summary:
A non profit organization called The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). They decide which candidates will be able to participate, who will moderate, and more. Critics say that the debates run high on rhetoric and low on substance. The CPD is controlled by both the Republican and Democratic parties. They pose questions in order to portray their candidates in the best light and also avoid actual questions that matter, as well as making sure that no third party candidates are able to participate. In short, the debates are a fraud and nothing but a show. It's nothing more than watching professional wrestling; call it WWE for politics.



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 03:44 PM
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There practically wouldn't be any debates. All sides come up with these ridiculous claims that simply don't exist, haven't existed, or are simply not accurate at all.

I'm not sure if this would force politicians to stop making claims, or just make them even less direct with their answers and try to weave around the question more, always stating "could" "might" "maybe" instead of absolutes.

It has a chance of curing nothing, unfortunately. but I rather it be in place than not.



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 03:51 PM
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originally posted by: schuyler
The problem is that fact checking is not just a matter of looking up something to see whether it is "true" or not. It involves endless argument, particularly for controversial subjects. Just one example.

1. Indianapolis had a record number of murders last year.
2. That's what you get with lax gun control. Congratulations.
3. Wait. Chicago has strict gun controls and twice as many murders.
4. Yeah, but you have to factor in the population.
5. OK. Factor in the total population and murders are very much lower.
etc....

These kinds of "facts" and arguments cannot be resolved within the real-time nature of a debate in a few seconds. They move way too fast.


What I've often wanted is a focused debate topic in which both candidates can present their position uninterrupted using whatever graphs and charts they feel necessary. For example, let's use gun control. Candidate A has 30 minutes to state why they are for it. Candidate B has 30 minutes to state why they are against. Then we have one hour for both candidates to question each other and take audience questions.

The problem with our debates now is that we try to cover too many topics.

I'd like to see a very specific debate on Healthcare. Another on Foreign Policy. Another on Tax Policy.



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 03:52 PM
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a reply to: DisinfoCom

That would be hilarious ...imagine anyone trying to speak as the fact checkers interrupted after every utterance by a candidate!

Okay, that might be cynical and hyperbole... but not by much. Even the most careful (read boring) politician uses a 'stretcher' (lie) or ten to try to make a point...

and imagine a politician never telling a lie... ha, they would immediately disenfranchise the majority of the voters as there are some ugly truths out there that no politician could make palatable (about climate projections, population growth, economic choke-points, human nature...etc.).

But it would be "nice"...heh



posted on Jan, 18 2016 @ 05:28 PM
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a reply to: DisinfoCom

I know CNN has done some fact checking after the debates and when there's been some outrageous remarks from candidates. Ben Swann has also done some fact checking on his website.




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