Bloomberg TV told Politico it would run on-screen fact checks during the September 26 presidential debate between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In deciding to fact-check candidates with on-screen graphics, Bloomberg breaks ranks with all other major cable news outlets, which have widely rejected on-screen fact-checking during the debate, despite having repeatedly used live fact checks to debunk false information in the past. Bloomberg TV's announcement follows Media Matters' call for the debate moderators to use on-screen text and graphics to fact-check the candidates in real-time in our "Do's and Don'ts" for moderators.
The New York Times, The Washington Post and Politico have published independent reports that amplified the importance of fact-checking candidates during the debates. They reviewed one week of Trump’s “blizzard of falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies,” and found that Trump “averaged about one falsehood every three minutes and 15 seconds.”
Politico’s Kelsey Sutton reported September 26 that Bloomberg TV said it would “conduct on-screen fact checks” during its presidential debate coverage. Sutton reported that the decision “sets Bloomberg apart from the other major TV networks,” which have chosen not to fact-check during the debate, claiming it would be “hard to execute in real-time.” Other networks’ decision not to correct lies, Sutton reported, “leaves the real-time fact-checking up to NBC’s Lester Holt, the debate moderator, or Clinton herself.” Sutton wrote:
Bloomberg TV will conduct on-screen fact checks of statements made by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during Monday night’s debate, POLITICO has confirmed.
The channel’s decision to conduct an on-screen fact-check sets Bloomberg apart from the other major TV networks, none of whom have committed to doing on-screen fact checks during the debate. Most will leave the fact-checking to segments in the post-debate analysis coverage.
Spokespeople for the networks told POLITICO that on-screen fact checks would be hard to execute in real-time, which is why they were opting out. That leaves the real-time fact-checking up to NBC’s Lester Holt, the debate moderator, or Clinton herself.