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Trust Index: We’re fact checking the presidential debates live

First Biden-Trump debate is 9 p.m. Tuesday

Trust Index Team with Grant Hermes
Trust Index Team with Grant Hermes (WDIV)

With the election less than 40 days away, ClickOnDetroit and Local 4 will be factchecking the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates -- live.

We know how important this election is to Michiganders, especially in a year marked by the tragedy of the coronavirus, the outcries of a summer and fall of civil unrest and what has been a tumultuous campaign so far. We also know this election can’t be decided without proper facts and making sure those asking for our votes for the highest offices are telling the truth.

Who’s we?

We are reporter and anchor Grant Hermes, ClickOnDetroit Digital Content Manager Ken Haddad and ClickOnDetroit Managing Editor Dave Bartkowiak Jr.

Grant has been factchecking recent visits by the candidates and other politicians over the course of the summer on social media, including the recent visits from both President Donald Trump and Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden and the conventions of both parties. (follow him here) He’s also tested several of the claims made by politicians using our Trust Index.

Ken is the author of ClickOnDetroit’s Morning Report newsletter (sign up for that here, trust us you’ll want to) and the new Trust Index newsletter which has already debunked popular conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and COVID-19. (Sign up for that here, again just trust us).

Dave oversees ClickOnDetroit and will keep tabs on what those watching are saying, filling in the blanks and keeping track of claims we miss or need to look into more as the debates air.

How it will work

The candidates are set for four debates. The first is Sept. 29 where President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will debate in Cleveland, Ohio. The first debate is historically most important for candidates because it’s the first time voters get a side-by-side comparison of the candidates.

The debate is moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News. According to what Wallace has said on his social media the topics are wide ranging. They include the candidates' records, the Supreme Court, Covid-19, the economy, “race and violence in our cities” and the integrity of the election.

Trump and Biden will face off another two times. The second debate will be Oct. 15 and third on Oct. 22. Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris have their debate Oct. 7.

During the debates Grant will factcheck the debates on Twitter which will also be live streamed on ClickOnDetroit. He’ll use primary sources, expert analysis, quality reporting and the candidates' own words to check their claims. He won’t be using any spin or sourcing from the campaigns unless they come directly from a website, document or statement. He’ll also choose claims that are declarative or dubious, which means he won’t just be looking for lies or misleading statements but those that are true and represent each candidate accurately, as well.

Will every claim or statement get checked? No. Will we go back to make sure we can get some of the things we missed? Yes.

We also want input from viewers who see the debates on air and the livestream. We expect there to be a lot to test and we want to be able to test those claims most important to Metro Detroit and Michigan voters.


About the Authors: