Donald Trump has been clocked at 71 lies/hour -- that's more than a lie-per-minute! -- in a speech he delivered. Hillary Clinton lies about as much as the average politician, nowhere near the Goebbels levels Trump achieves, but still worthy of scrutiny.
Matt Lauer's disgraceful, cowardly performance in the veterans' forum underscores the importance of candidates being held to the truth.
One cannot expect subsequent moderators to be any better than Lauer. They all operate in a corporate environment where ratings supersede integrity even if it means normalizing racism and facilitating the victory of a sociopath as a legitimate contender.
But, there is a path forward. Real-time fact-checking.
Here is how it would work: The presidential debates are three half-hour segments with two breaks.
What if a team of professional fact-checkers were employed to check each candidate's assertions during the half-hour, finishing during the break, after which the moderator is supplied with the results? The moderator then reads the assessments at the beginning of the next segment, and, to pick up the last segment, at the conclusion of the debate.
Knowing that lies and misstatements would be called out to a nationwide audience, in real-time, would likely have a moderating effect itself. And,then, calling out the lies would enable the country to see the candidates for who they really are.
Who would be the fact-checkers? There are groups that do this all the time. They are not perfect, and sometimes create symmetry where there is none, but knowing that would only make the candidates more circumspect in their assertions.
The system could be piloted during the Sunday AM talk shows.
If, after a 10-year, 4 billion mile journey, the European space agency can land a satellite on a comet traveling at 84,000 mph, then surely we can figure out how to check candidates' statements in real-time during a debate.
The first candidate to suggest real-time fact-checking will gain a lot of credibility especially if the other does not immediately agree. After all the Trumpies believe that Hillary Clinton lies all the time, and the Clintonites have documented how Trump is the biggest liar in American political history.
So, each candidate should consider this proposal to be a bonanza for its side.
Or, will they?