Entertainment How Will Tonight's Debate Microphone Muting Work?
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If history is any indicator, Fox News will handily sweep cable competitors CNN and MSNBC in total average viewers for Tuesday night's presidential debate, the first between Republican incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The winner in the key demo of viewers between 25 and 54, however, might be CNN, which won the advertiser-coveted age demo two of the last three cycles. In 2008, according to Nielsen Media Research, 8.211 million total average viewers watched Fox News as Democratic nominee Barack Obama took on his senatorial colleague Republican John McCain. CNN was close behind with 7.140 total average viewers for the 9 p.m.
President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will have their microphones muted part of the time during Thursday's presidential debate, but the move is unprecedented. How, exactly, is that going to work?
For starters, moderator Kristen Welker won't have anything to do with the muting. As far as her responsibilities go, Welker got tothe topics for the debate and will be in charge of directing the flow of the conversation, but when it comes to the technical nitty-gritty, she'll be as hands-off as any of the viewers.
A source with knowledge of the setup told TheWrap that the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates is the sole producer of the big showdown and Welker has no involvement in the operation of the microphones and muting. A producer from the commission itself will be managing the microphones.
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This 2020 presidential election cycle is entering its final act, finally, as we kick off the presidential debates. The first of these, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, will see Chris Wallace do his best to moderate Joe Biden and Donald Trump in what will no doubt be an extremely contentious affair even by the standards of presidential debates. And, of course, you'll find plenty of coverage on Fox News. If Fox News is your TV news network of choice, you'veIf Fox News is your TV news network of choice, you've come to the right place — we've got everything you need to know about the channel's coverage plans for Tuesday's debate.
A representative for the CPD did not immediately return a request for comment.
The commissionthe unprecedented move of muting each candidate while the other is speaking on Monday. Trump and Biden will each get two minutes to respond to Welker's questions. During those two minutes, the opposing candidate's microphone will be muted in an effort to deter interruptions, but after the candidate finishes their response, the other's microphone will be turned back on to allow for an open discussion.
"We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today. One may think they go too far, one may think they do not go far enough," the CPD said in a Monday evening statement. "We are comfortable that these actions strike the right balance and that they are in the interest of the American people, for whom these debates are held."
How to Watch CNN's Coverage of the First Presidential Debate of 2020 Live Online
The presidential debates are upon us, and that means we're fairly close, finally, to the end of what has been an extraordinarily hectic election cycle. The first debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and CNN will have its usual expansive coverage, and it'll all be available to stream live for free. The debate itself is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. ET, and CNN's debate preshow — led by Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper — will start up two hours before that at 7 p.m. ET. CNN's main crew for the night — Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Abby Phillip — will join in at 8 p.m., and they'll all stick around once the debate ends at 10:30 p.
Sure enough, Trumpthe move Tuesday morning, but said he still plans to debate.
Welker has faced scrutiny, particularly from right-wing media, ahead of the debate and is sure to face ire from viewers who don't realize she isn't manning the mute button, too. Eventually, following negative headlines from the New York Post and Fox News, Trump himself criticized Welker,the NBC News reporter "has always been terrible and unfair."
As recently as January of this year, however, the president sang a different tune.
Early in 2020, when Welker was named co-anchor of "Weekend Today," Trump congratulated her during a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, saying NBC News' decision to promote her was "wise."
The topics she chose for the debate — which kicks off from Tennessee at 9 p.m. ET — are COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership.
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© AP Photo / Julio Cortez US President Donald Trump in the second and final debate with Joe Biden ahead of the presidential election on October 22 2020 in Nashville. The second and final presidential debate before the November 3 election took place last night in the United States. We remember the chaos that was the first debate three weeks ago. This time the face-to-face was calmer. Donald Trump and Joe Biden each had the opportunity to answer questions and present their ideas.