Tales from the TV News Archive presidential debate near real-time livestream

During last night’s presidential debate, the Internet Archive’s TV News Archive experimented with something new: a near real-time live stream of the first presidential debate. This online video stream is editable, embeddable, and shareable on social media. We were the only public library of the debate capturing these clips within minutes, while the candidates were still duking it out. The debate is preserved on the TV News Archive site for posterity. And when the vice presidential candidates, Tom Kaine and Mike Pence, meet for their debate on October 4, the TV News Archive will be making this live stream available to  journalists and the general public.

During the debate, we matched up TV debate video with fact checks from our Political TV Ad Archive partners at FactCheck.org and PolitiFact. Here are some representative tweets and links from last night’s debate:

Minute 15: Hillary Clinton said, “Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.” “I do not say that,” said Trump. “Mostly True,” read the fact check posted by PolitiFact reporters. Jessica Clark, founder of Dot Connector Studio and a consultant to the TV News Archive, was able to link the two here:

Minute 20: Donald Trump said, “I was against the war in Iraq.” FactCheck.org posted this timeline of Trump’s statements about the Iraq war, pointing out that Trump had voiced support for the war in 2002 in an interview with “shock jock” Howard Stern. I tweeted that here:

Minute 36: Donald Trump said, “You learn a lot from financial disclosures” as opposed to tax returns. “False,” posted PolitiFact, “Trump has not released his tax returns, which experts say would offer valuable details on his effective tax rate, the types of taxes he paid, and how much he gave to charity, as well as a more detailed picture of his income-producing assets.” This sort of information is not included on financial disclosure forms. I linked to the fact check in this tweet:


Minute 44: Hillary Clinton said: “The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African American men, more than the next nine causes put together.” “True,” posted PolitiFact. Roger Macdonald, TV News Archive director, tweeted the following link to the TV debate clip, along with the fact check.

Overall, fact checking was a crucial part of last night’s debates, as Clark noted:

The near real-time live stream experiment was part of our collaboration around the debates with the Annenberg Public Policy Center, to bring context to the 2016 presidential debates. Stay tuned: today we are drilling down on how TV news is covering the debates. Which video clips are they picking up from the debates in post-debate analyses? We’ll be making that information available to the public, as well as to academic researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy School for integration into their post-debate surveys.