FACT CHECKING DURING DEBATES (COMMENT). I want to boast that I posted here—before the debate— about Candy Crowley’s announced intention not to abide by any limits on the role of moderator in the second presidential debate. Carl Davidson commented on my post: “Looks like Candy lived up to her intent judging by her interjection during the Libya argument. This could start a whole new discussion on the function of the moderator in future debates, i.e. call out one of the parties who is deliberately misleading, or even clearly lying.”
Without expressing an opinion about Candy Crowley’s interjection, which presents special circumstances, I don’t think that in general fact checking by a moderator is workable for several reasons: 1. Fact checking on the fly in a debate, without time to verify the facts, is, in general, not feasible. 2. As fact checking by newspapers has shown, the line between fact and opinion is hard to draw. 3. Where statistics are concerned, the choice of which statistic to use is usually debatable. 4. Interjections throw off time keeping. This leaves fact checking by print media and by the campaigns—unsatisfactory perhaps, but, I think, the best the process has come up with.
As I will post tomorrow, I realize that I have an overriding objection which represents my own perhaps idiosyncratic preferences: In my Ideal Debate, there is no moderator.