Fact-checking the debates

Websites and social media make it easier to keep candidates honest.

Editorial board

Journalists and pundits in the media should always strive to be watchdogs in the American political system. It’s the press’ job to deconstruct the claims made by politicians and expose them when they are misleading or flat out incorrect. As much as every voter likes to believe their presidential candidate is being honest, that’s not always the case, and it’s important for viewers to do some research after or even during the debates. 

Nonpartisan websites like PolitiFact.com and FactCheck.org focus on the facts surrounding the policy issues people care about, while pointing out cases where the candidates’ statistics or claims don’t add up. Not only do the sites fact-check all of the candidates’ debate responses, they also bring attention to the questions that were avoided or left unanswered. PolitiFact also streams live fact-checks through their Twitter feed that viewers are able to read while the live debate is occurring.

Undecided voters use the debates to make an informed decision on how to vote, and it’s important for them to sort out the facts when listening to the candidates debate. Seasoned politicians understand how easy it can be to get away with less-than-truthful statements. Thankfully, it is now easier than ever before to check the accuracy of the claims and arguments made in presidential debates.

Many Americans, still unsure of who they’ll vote for, want to hear straight from the candidates how they plan to move the country forward. When deciding which candidate gave the best performance, remember to base judgments less on style and more on facts, policy and substance. If candidates find that voters are consistently researching the accuracy of their claims, they’ll be less tempted to skirt the truth.