“There is a huge difference between being a moderator in a discussion and being a reporter interviewing someone,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., co-chair of the discussion committee on CNN. “We do not expect Chris or our other coordinators to be event controllers. Once the television is off, there will be many checkers in every newspaper and every television station in the world. This is not the role, the main role of our coordinators. “
Some media experts have called on television networks to impose their own real-time fact-checking on-screen graphics, clarifying captions or jackets for content reporters. Anchors on CNN and MSNBC occasionally entered speeches during the Republican National Convention in August, pointing out false or baseless allegations.
This interventionist approach is less likely to happen on Tuesday, according to executives and producers on various television networks. Unlike contracts, executives said, the debates are intended as an unfiltered test of candidates’ morale, endurance and ability to persuade the electorate.
“Discussion is one of the rare opportunities where the public sees both presidential candidates together on the same stage, where they have the opportunity not only to respond and address each other, but to speak directly to the American public,” he said. Caitlin Conant, political director of CBS News. “We do not want to confuse voters and candidates.”
This does not mean that Ms. Conant or other executives plan to avoid correcting the lies. CBS, for example, has its Washington correspondent, Mager Garrett, on standby to check events during its real-time broadcast. CNN’s Trump internal auditor, Daniel Dale, will appear on the network’s coverage. Many TV agencies provide live event control and analysis on their websites.
Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Mr Wallace said he had “too much” to cover in 90 minutes, citing the coronavirus, racial tensions, financial problems and protests across the country. Just this weekend, the president appointed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and the New York Times published a major survey revealing that Mr. Trump did not pay federal income taxes in 10 of the 15 years before 2017.
How many viewers can even be affected by Tuesday’s proceedings is an open question.
About 70 percent of Americans said the debates would not matter to their final vote, according to a poll this month from The Wall Street Journal and NBC News. The survey found that 44% of respondents said the discussions would not matter.