Mia’s Opinion About the First Debate

Mia Emerson, Feature Editor, Editorial Cartoonist

The first presidential debate was interesting, to say the least. Before we delve into the evidence, bias, and sensationalism of the debate, let’s recap the organization for the debate. The moderator was Chris Wallace, a Fox News anchor, and the two debaters, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, were given 2 minutes of uninterrupted time at the beginning of each question to establish their position on the subject before the debate turned into a free discussion. There were also seven topics: (in order of appearance) the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the Economy, Race, Why Should They (the debater) Be Elected Over Their Opponent, Climate Change, and Voting. 

However, the structure of this debate did not hold up against the raging bull that is Donald Trump. Despite this, I will be discussing evidence, bias, sensationalism, and my own opinion based on each topic.

Supreme Court

Donald Trump started the debate by going first on the topic of the Supreme Court Judge Election. There was not a whole lot of “facts” being thrown around here, as Biden and Trump were arguing their opinions about whether Trump should be able to elect a new Supreme Court Judge as we enter an election. 

For bias, there wasn’t any explicitly stated bias, however, it was discussed the reason Trump is trying to push through a new Supreme Court Judge is that he wants to repeal Roe V. Wade.

There were quite a few sensationalized comments from mostly Biden, though there were a few from Trump. Here are some of Biden’s quotes of sensationalism:

  • “I am the Democratic party.” 
  • “Do you have any idea what this clown is saying?” 
  • “Will you shut up man?” This started trending on Twitter very soon after he said this. (I really want to buy a shirt of this one)

Trump’s contribution to sensationalism mainly involved saying there is a “far-left manifesto” and calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” 

Overall, I found this to be a disastrous start to the debate with candidates from both sides talking over each other as well as over Wallace. It seemed as though Trump was angry and started attacking Biden like a child right from the start which caused Biden to reciprocate the childish behavior to not be drowned out by Trump. This started not even ten minutes into the debate, which shows how long two old white politicians can remain civil. However, I did find Biden’s sensational comments to be hilarious.


This topic was the start of some major fact-checking, not only by me, but they seemed to be fact-checking each other. The major things that needed to be fact-checked would be the injecting bleach comment as well as the time before the release of the COVID vaccine. 

Trump claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine would be out in a few weeks, however, Biden claimed that the scientists say the earliest the vaccine would be out late in the summer of 2021. I have confirmed on Operation Warp Speed Top Adviser On The Status Of A Coronavirus Vaccine that widespread release of the vaccine would not be ready until the middle of 2021, meaning that Trump is incorrect. 

Biden made a sensationalized comment referring to Trump where he mentioned how he told people to inject bleach into their arm to kill the coronavirus. Trump countered this by saying he was being sarcastic. Though sarcasm is hard to fact-check, Trump did say this which caused many people to take him seriously and severely injured themselves by following his “sarcasm.” Therefore, I’m going to have to give the win to Biden on this one. 

In this topic, Trump did make quite a few bias claims, mostly saying how well he handled the pandemic and how Biden would have done worse than him. 

I don’t remember any significant sensationalized comments, besides the one already discussed. However, I do want to discuss Trump blatantly attacking Biden instead of answering the questions.

Trump switched from boasting about how great he handled the coronavirus to attacking Biden’s college education and his rally attendance. This showed that Trump was shaken by Biden’s answers to the questions and went after Biden’s smarts and popularity instead. I thought that was rude, but not unexpected as most of Trump’s tactics involve discrediting his opponent based on their personal life or spreading rumors.

One thing I think Biden did extremely well in this section was his appeal to the audience. He showed empathy and understanding towards the viewers who were affected by the coronavirus, which is extremely important for a leader to have during a pandemic. I think talking directly to the audience was extremely effective because it created a sense of connection between candidate and voter.  


While there were quite a few facts in need of being checked, we are going to focus on two particular ones, the claim that Trump made about his tax returns as well as Hunter Biden receiving money from Russia. 

Trump’s first question in the debate was about his recently released taxes, which he claimed are false and that he has paid millions of dollars in taxes in the past few years. However, no evidence proves he has paid millions of dollars, as most of his tax returns have not been released. However, there is recent evidence he has paid $750 in 2016 and 2017 however has paid nothing for 10 years prior to his election. 

His second claim was that Hunter Biden, Joe’s son, received $3.5 million from the mayor of Moscow’s wife. While the mayor of Moscow’s wife did send money to a firm associated with Hunter Biden, his legal team claims he did not have any interest in that firm so the claim is false. This could be debated, however, there is insufficient evidence to determine if Hunter is in the wrong or right here, so we will assume he is innocent until proven guilty. 

This relates to a bias statement Biden claimed in this section. He claimed that his “son did nothing wrong.” This could be true, but Biden is obviously influenced by the fact that Hunter is his son and he wants to believe that his son would not act criminally. 

This section also had quite a few sensationalized comments on both sides. Biden called Trump “the worst president we’ve ever had,” and taunted him by saying “try to be honest.” Trump, on the other hand, focused on China quite a bit in his sensationalized comments, calling COVID-19 the “China plague” and saying “China ate your lunch, Joe.” 

I’m not entirely sure what that last comment means, but I find it to be hilarious. However, I want to talk a bit about some things I think Biden did well in this section because there are too many things that were ugly and messy from both sides of the debate. 

Biden once again addressed the audience directly, which remains incredibly moving, but he also said that you “can’t fix the economy until you fix COVID,” which really spoke to me as that is something I agree with wholeheartedly. 


The two claims we will be fact-checking in this section of the debate is that Donald Trump said Biden called African-Americans “superpredators” and that Biden said that violent crime went down 17% during the Obama administration. 

For the “superpredators” claim, it was actually Hillary Clinton who said that, however, Biden has called African-Americans “predators” in the past.

For the violent crime claim, I have not found anywhere that indicates that percentage for violent crime. I did find that violent crime was 10.3% lower in 2016 than in 2008, however, the murder rate was the lowest it ever was during 2014 which is in the Obama administration. This means that Biden’s claim is incorrect. 

There was one main bias comment that has sparked outrage across the country which was when Trump did not condemn white supremacists. He won’t condemn white supremacists as they make up a large portion of his supporters and honestly, with the lack of condemnation, he might be one himself.

Some sensationalized sayings: 

  • “You should get out of your bunker and your sandtrap” – Biden
  • “ANTIFA is bad” -Trump. 

I’m honestly just disgusted with Trump in this section. There is not much more to say. 

Why should they be elected as President?

I legitimately could not understand half of what was said during this segment, so I do not have any facts to check. 

Trump’s bias claim of this section was that the impeachment was a hoax. Of course, he would say that because he thinks he did nothing wrong when in actuality there was a legitimate reason for his impeachment trial. 

The sensationalized moment came when Biden called Trump “Putin’s Puppy.”

There was also an incredibly insensitive moment when Trump interrupted Biden who was talking about his dead son’s achievements and started talking about Hunter Biden’s drug addiction. 

Instead of continuing with the last few sections of the debate, I wanted to talk about my overall feelings as the same things continue to happen in each debate topic so I’m sure you get the idea of what a dumpster fire of a debate this was. 

Overall, Trump was exceptionally rude in this debate as he constantly interrupted Biden and Wallace throughout its entirety. Biden often reciprocated Trump’s behavior but was overall more calm and collected. This demeanor of his in contrast to Trump’s horrendous behavior likely won him more votes because he seemed more diplomatic than Trump.