Broadcasters should time-delay presidential debates, allowing them to mute any outright lies

Best idea so far in this thread. That, and having a moderator who does their effing job.


How about something along the lines of a chess clock for the candidates? At the end of the alotted time their mike goes dead. Done. No more gaming the mods.

As for the OP, I don’t agree with silencing the statement, but the problem is it’s been proven people retain the statement much better than any rebuttal. It seems some form of moderator intervention is needed though, so it isn’t just Hillary up there all night trying to rebut a barrage of bullshit. The mods need to aggressively intervene, and have a mute button at their disposal if he won’t shut up.


This sounds an awful lot like ‘opening up our libel laws’, just aimed in the other direction. I guess it’s not surprising; people have been proposing all sorts of terrible anti-democratic ideas in response to Donald Trump, whether it’s IQ tests at voting centers or ‘bringing back’ political machines.

It makes me worry that even if Trump is defeated, America will become less democratic, that the Trump insurgency will be taken as evidence that it is dangerous to allow ‘too much democracy’ lest the unrestrained id of the clamoring masses take control of the country.

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.


Weirdly, Fox did a pretty good job of fact-checking Trump during the debate in March.
(although when the opponent is Clinton and not another Republican, I don’t expect them to repeat the exercise)

Didn’t do a damn bit of good, natch. Trump supporters are allergic to facts. Those come from people like “experts”, and we know they can’t be trusted.


Or a sock on the jaw, old fashion’y & shit.


Oh dear, an idealist in our midst!

Nope, the debate format that any 16-year-old is required to follow or be disqualified is not actually followed by candidates for the highest ranking political job in the land. Make of that what you will.


Only if Sinatra himself comes on stage to do da honors to da creep.


Ahahaha no. The job of the moderator is to flash his pearly whites at the camera and lob slow softballs to the establishment candidates.


Does anything they say really even matter? They could be speaking nonsense words–the majority will simply be watching for body posture, gesticulations, spittle amount, tone of voice, volume of voice, facial contortion, and gender.

Also, # of American flag pins worn.


not exactly idealist, more an ignorant - the procedure of debates is not exactly well-known over the pond and the bits and pieces I thought to remember are obviously wrong : )


Maybe something like contested calls in the MLB - both sides have the option to pause the debate while the moderators fact check some point, but if they call out wrongly they lose the option for the rest of the debate.


I’m assuming it is more like Question Time; an inarticulate poo fight.


I am appalled that you would post this, lending credence to a concept that seriously degrades the power of journalism in a democracy. This goes against everything I’ve ever heard you say about freedom of the press, Cory.


I think a ticker would be a terrible idea.

The reason politicians and others so often get away with bullshit is that soundbites are quick, easy, and pithy (QEP). The truth is invariably long, complex, and nuanced (LCN).

Tickers are awful at conveying LCN, because
a) they usually crawl too slowly, meaning it takes ages to get the whole message
b) related to a), a whole bunch of other stuff (read: more bullshit) is going on while the first message is still crawling it’s way across the screen, leading to ever worsening desynchronisation between what’s being discussed and what’s being tickered
c) (also related to a) ) the whole message is never on display, and you can’t go backwards, and because it’s so slow you concentrate on anticipating the next word rather than parsing the whole message, meaning that the message is never really conveyed.

Other approaches that might work:

  1. a small picture-in-picture with a panel of three trustworthy commentators (a problem in itself), who each hold up cards with a clear pictograph displaying True, Mostly True, Mostly False, False, Pants on Fire (or something like that), sort of like the judging panel at the gymnastics. They hold up the appropriate card as required, and the viewer can readily see broad agreement or disagreement between the panelists
  2. Delayed, interrupted coverage. At regular intervals the feed of the debate is interrupted, and a panel discuss the factualness of what’s just occurred (and just the facts, ma’am. No diversion into ‘who’s doing better’ or who just got the best zinger in). Once the panel is finished with that segment, the feed restarts from where it was halted, so the viewer doesn’t miss anything, but get a steady reality check throughout. I believe this is more-or-less how NFL games are currently covered(?), so culturally it might work fairly easily(?).

In many cases the press has abjectly surrendered ‘the power of the journalism in a democracy.’ See: Matt Lauer for the most recent egregious example. What’s being discussed here are ways for journalists to reclaim that power.


Despite all the trappings and the behaviour of the participants, politics is not a game.

Roger That!

I think a big swath of the American electorate, on both sides (and in other democracies for that matter) don’t care about facts, but vote based on emotion. Back when the Nightly News was still more or less functioning, Richard Nixon got elected, despite his background (of course, Humphrey was tainted by the Viet Nam War disaster, and look how it took facts to make a difference there). American anti-intellectualism and suspicion of experts has rendered facts irrelevant. Look at the number of people who believe in:

conspiracy theories
past lives
literal heaven & hell

You can fact check all you want, but only a small minority of the people pay any attention.


The only problem with using “LIAR” is that it’s not always clear whether the politicians have convinced themselves of their own bullshit. WRONG or FALSE or INCORRECT or NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE TRUTH removes that consideration.