How to Watch the First Presidential Debate
The interminable presidential campaign is almost over! Monday night’s presidential debate marks the start of the seven-week home stretch in the race between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. They square off at 9 pm Eastern at Hofstra University. Can’t be there? No problem. You can watch it pretty much anywhere.
Unlike the primary season debates, the three presidential debates will be simulcast across the major networks and cable channels. Pick one: ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS, MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, Univision, or C-SPAN. Lester Holt of NBC is the moderator, if you want to stick with the home team.
All of the networks and major cable outlets have an online presence, so of course they are streaming the debates along with digital-first outlets like Buzzfeed News, The Daily Caller, Huffington Post, Politico, and Yahoo. Telemundo, the Wall Street Journal, and Hulu will stream it, too.
One online effort worth a special mention? PBS NewsHour and Microsoft have created an interactive site where you can check out presidential debates since 1960, filtered by specific topics or by year. Mon dieu, Mondale!
Will Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube pass up this prime chance at engagement? They will not. Look for Facebook Live broadcasts from journalists and those packed into Hofstra. Twitter will use the same live streaming system it uses for Thursday night football, trading sacks for fact checks and leaning on Bloomberg for footage. The candidates won’t be wearing Specs, but Snapchat will compile Live Stories for bite-sized debate nuggets. YouTube will feature coverage from NBC News, PBS, Fox News, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Telemundo.
Virtual Reality, But Don’t
NBC will stream the debate in 360 degrees through a partnership with AltspaceVR, including, no joke, a “virtual Al Roker.” The good news is that AltspaceVR has apps for all the major platforms, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Gear VR. The bad news is that this is not a way that we recommend anyone watch a debate.
OK, you’re all set! It’s going to be easy to do your civic duty and watch the first presidential debate. As for what happens on that one uncle’s Facebook page afterward, you’re on your own.
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