With 80 million people watching the first debate, the focus wasn't just on the candidates, but also on the moderator and the wider media. Who would sort the facts from the fiction?

The debate was the most-watched in the history of politics, in spite of the two candidates - Trump on the Republican side and Clinton for the Democrats - being the least popular to ever make it this far, according to a voter survey.

Why do we think that if they are not going to be factually correct in their original statements that they will be factually correct in their rebuttals? Of course that is the moderator's job to intervene.

Alexios Mantzarlis, director and editor, The International Fact-Checking Network

But with Trump's narrative continuing to err on the outlandish and offensive side, the role of the moderator - in this instance, Lester Holt of NBC news - has been very carefully scrutinised.

Is it the moderator's job to fact check the candidates or is it up to the candidates to fact check each other?

"Presidential debates are really a platform for the two contenders to put forth their ideas, their policy, their case to the American public. The moderator in those debates, should fall to the background," says Kelly Riddell, deputy opinions editor at The Washington Times. 

But which of the two views is best for the debate audience, and more importantly, the American voter?

Contributors: Todd Graham, director of debate, Southern Illinois University; Alexios Mantzarlis, director and editor, The International Fact-Checking Network; Amanda Terkel, HuffPo senior political reporter; Kelly Riddell, deputy opinions editor, The Washington Times.

Source: Al Jazeera