A Guide to Streaming the Debates Online, Based on Comment Sections

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

You could watch tonight’s presidential debate on any number of TV channels (like an old person) or you could watch it on the internet (like a hip, cool, young person who will never get old and never die).

There are a handful of options out there, all presenting variations on the same thing. The real difference comes in what surrounds the livestream: the comments section. Here are your options.


Facebook will be broadcasting a stream of ABC’s coverage at ABC’s page, here. You can also watch PBS NewsHour’s stream on Facebook, here.

You should watch the debate on Facebook if you want to hear your problematic uncle and that one person from high school express their abiding belief that “all lives matter.” Immediately after the debate ends, you’ll be able to discuss it on pages like Occupy Democrats (“Hillary DESTROYED Drumpf With Just Three Words. Mic Drop”) or, if your politics run in the opposite direction, The Angry Patriot (“A Closer Look At Four Seconds Of Crooked Hillary Coughing At The Debate — Is She Dying?”).


There are at least three streams on YouTube tonight: NBC’s, here; the Washington Post’s, here; and Bloomberg’s, here.

If you want to see a bunch of frog-cartoon avatars posting swastika ASCII art and teens requesting that Hillary and Trump come to Brazil, check out YouTube’s livestream. It’s also where you’re going to see very witty people make requests such as, “When will they ask about Harambe? :D”

After the debate, some guy using a Logitech webcam from 2004 will explain that the debate was rigged because the moderator didn’t ask about Benghazi. The Gregory Brothers will Auto-Tune the choicest debate quotes into an epic viral win.


Twitter will be using Bloomberg’s stream.

Twitter is the platform to watch the debate on if you want to read neo-Nazi bots responding to every official campaign tweet and media types making halfhearted jokes masking their deep despair (“John Oliver’s got a lot to work with this week” or “I miss Jon Stewart”).

After the debate, someone who lives in Brooklyn will make a parody Twitter account based on an offhand line in the debate, and a C-list celebrity who made a bad and possibly racist joke during the debate will dramatically quit Twitter.

Virtual Reality

AltspaceVR and NBC News are producing a VR stream.

Who on earth would want to immerse themselves in the debate to such an absurd degree? No one. If you care at all about your mental health, do not stream the debate in VR.

A Comment-Section Guide to Streaming the Debates Online