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How to watch the presidential debate live on CNN, MSNBC, or elsewhere for free without cable

The first of three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is scheduled to take place in Cleveland tonight.

How to watch the presidential debate live on CNN, MSNBC, or elsewhere for free without cable
[Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images]

Believe it or not, three presidential debates between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are scheduled to take place between now and the November election.

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The first of those will happen tonight (Tuesday, September 29) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, with topics ranging from COVID-19 and the economy to “race and violence in our cities.” Fox News anchor Chris Wallace will moderate the event, and fact checkers . . . well, we assume they’ll try their best.

If you’re a cord cutter who wants to watch the first 2020 presidential debate live on your computer, smartphone, or TV, you have plenty of options. The debate is available to stream almost anywhere, and many outlets are streaming it for free. I’ve rounded up some easy ways to stream below:

YouTube live streams

The Google-owned video service has a page featuring bookmarked YouTube streams from a number of networks, including ABC News, C-SPAN, and CBS News. Find it here.

TV and cable network websites

Most major cable and broadcast networks will air the debate live, and many of those will lift the paywalls on their websites so you won’t have to log in with a pay-TV company. A few obvious choices are CNN.com, MSNBC.com, FoxNews.com, ABC.com, CBS.com, or NBC.com. You can also check out the PBS NewsHour embedded YouTube video below.

Streaming services

If you’re already subscribed to a live-TV streaming service, you can find the debate on almost all of them, including YouTube TV, Hulu With Live TV, Sling TV, FuboTV, and the free service Locast.

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About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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