Trump Campaign: It's Not The Job Of A Debate Moderator To Fact-Check

Team Clinton feels differently.
Donald Trump's campaign doesn't want debate moderators to fact-check him.
Donald Trump's campaign doesn't want debate moderators to fact-check him.

The two major-party presidential campaigns have dramatically different expectations when it comes to what role moderators should play in the upcoming debates. One wants instantaneous pushback on a candidate’s spins and lies; the other views that as inappropriate.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said Sunday that moderators, starting with NBC’s Lester Holt on Monday night, have an obligation to fact-check Donald Trump in real time.

“All that we’re asking is that, if Donald Trump lies, that it’s pointed out,” Mook said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

“It’s unfair to ask for Hillary both to play traffic cop while with Trump, make sure that his lies are corrected, and also to present her vision for what she wants to do for the American people,” he added.

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, disagreed when she went on the show after Mook.

“I really don’t appreciate campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact-checkers and that these debate moderators should somehow do their bidding,” she said. “They picked on Matt Lauer after the commander-in-chief debate forum. We thought he did a great job, but they didn’t like the fact that Hillary Clinton was asked about her e-mail server and her route in Iraq. That’s not Matt Lauer’s fault.”

The debate over the role of debate moderators has ratcheted up in recent weeks amidst concern from the Clinton camp that Trump is coasting along without being called out for routinely lying. This seemed particularly evident following the NBC commander-in-chief forum, during which Lauer failed to correct Trump’s insistence that he opposed the Iraq War from the outset.

Just this weekend, The Washington Post published a piece fact-checking Trump’s statements from Sept. 18 through Sept. 24; The New York Times did one fact-checking the GOP nominee from Sept. 15 through Sept. 21; and Politico fact-checked him over a five-day period. All publications found a penchant for mendacity that is remarkable: Over five days of remarks, Trump made 87 erroneous statements.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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