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How to stream the high-stakes presidential debates


    Lena Gjokaj takes a cellphone photo of the stage for the presidential debate between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

NEW YORK » Television viewership for today’s presidential debate is expected to be high, but you don’t need a television to watch.

There are plenty of ways to stream the showdown for free and get behind-the-scenes content and commentary, ranging from emoji responses to serious fact checks. A bigger question might be: Who isn’t streaming it?

If you don’t have cable or satellite TV, or even an antenna, you can catch the streams that major news organizations will offer on their websites and apps. But many social networks and online outlets will offer the debate, too.

Here’s your online guide to today’s debate, which starts at 9 p.m. EDT. All three presidential debates are expected to have similar streaming opportunities, and many outlets will cover the one for the vice presidential candidates as well.



The service will stream Bloomberg Television’s live coverage of the presidential and vice presidential debates. To watch, go to, or visit Bloomberg’s bpolitics Twitter feed. Twitter says the streams will include special political programming and commentary from Bloomberg 30 minutes before and after each debate. You do not need a Twitter account — or be logged in — to watch.



ABC News will show live streams from the debate and offer footage from watch parties, anchors and correspondents. The network says it will “incorporate viewers’ comments, questions and conversations” into its Facebook Live coverage. To find it, go to the ABC News Facebook page.

Other organizations are hopping on the Facebook Live bandwagon as well, including Fox News, C-SPAN, The New York Times, CNBC and Telemundo.



Google’s video streaming site is hosting debate streams from several news outlets, including NBC News , The Washington Post , Telemundo and Fox News . In addition, Google says “your favorite YouTube creators” such as the Young Turks and Complex news will be streaming live reports from the debates, using YouTube Live directly from their phones.



For those with virtual-reality headsets, NBC News is planning special VR streams and content for each of the debates. It will also help organize virtual watch parties. Some of the events require RSVPs.



Buzzfeed is promising “running emoji commentary of the action on Facebook Live.”

Snapchat, meanwhile, will cover each debate as a “Live Story” within its app.

CBSN, CBS News’ digital streaming service, will feature Instagram “Stories” in its live streaming coverage. Instagram Stories lets users share photos and videos from their day; they disappear automatically after 24 hours.



Bars across the country will be showing the debates. As with past debates, there will be drinking games and debate bingo for those interested.

In New York City, the blog Gothamist assembled a list of places for “watching, boozing and laughing your way through the debate.” The gay club Eastern Bloc, for example, will feature a dance party and Hillary Clinton fundraiser following the debate.

Whether you’re a fan of Clinton or Donald Trump, or you’re still deciding, check Meetup, Facebook or Google to find debate-viewing events near you.

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