WRAL, Politifact partner for live fact check during presidential debate

Posted September 29, 2020 12:10 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2020 1:51 p.m. EDT

During the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 at 9 p.m., WRAL and PolitiFact are partnering to provide live, on-screen fact checking of the candidates’ statements in real time. This innovative approach to debate coverage has rarely, if ever, been tried because of the difficulty of fact checking statements in the moment, but the partnership between WRAL and PolitiFact makes it possible.

“In this time of political hyperbole, WRAL News is dedicated to bringing viewers facts,” Rick Gall, news director of WRAL, said. “This unprecedented presentation of on-screen fact-checking in real time will allow voters to hear the candidates’ statements and educate themselves on the facts behind the claims.”

Aaron Sharockman, executive director of PolitiFact, describes how the process is possible. “PolitiFact is able to live fact-check debates not because we know everything or are faster than computers. It's because we have been fact-checking the candidates each and every day for years, in Joe Biden's case since 2007. So what might look 'live' to you is, in fact, a credit to the hard work and investment made by journalists for over 13 years now.

“We're excited to highlight and showcase our work in real-time with a television audience, and we thank WRAL for their commitment to providing viewers and voters access to accurate, objective information ahead of Election Day,” Sharockman said.

Viewers can watch the fact-checked version of the debate on WRAL.com, the WRAL News mobile app and at PolitiFact.com.

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