PolitiFact has some significant problems in its analysis of Trump's claim about the presidential debates...

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PolitiFact has some significant problems in its analysis of Trump's claim about the presidential debates being opposite NFL games.

First, they give way too much weight to the notion that the Commission on Presidential Debates is "an independent, bipartisan organization." Historically, the group has served the two parties, rather than act independently of them.

(And FWIW, the CPD would actually take issue with PolitiFact calling them "bipartisan": that label (which they used to wear) gets them in trouble with the FEC, because in order to avoid certain regulations, they have to be *non*partisan. So they call themselves nonpartisan now, even though they still act to serve the two parties.)

So while it is not independent, it is effectively bipartisan. And while the dates were set "well in advance of when the parties’ nominees became clear this year," it's still the case that dates that fall on football games are going to lower ratings. And the idea that any Sunday or Monday night during late September or October would generate high viewership for a debate, when an NFL game is guaranteed to take place on those evenings, is patently idiotic.

So because it is bipartisan, and because the GOP candidate was not known (and though Hillary was a very safe bet, she also was not known), it's unlikely that the candidates or parties were the direct reason for the decision. But because they knew that there would be NFL games on both dates, the inescapable conclusion is that they wanted to reduce live viewership.

And to me that makes sense, because I think both sides think they can benefit from low viewership.

So "Pants On Fire" is too harsh here. Trump has a point about the decision to put the games on those nights implying a desire to reduce viewership. But PolitFact is right that there's no serious reason to think the underlying cause of the decision is a motive to help the Democrats. G+

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