CNN reveals how they will mute the microphones during the debate (2024)

In an effort to keep the blockbuster presidential debate on track Thursday night, microphones will be muted for candidates when it’s not their turn to speak.

But some believe the move which was initially seen as one that could help President Biden from being endlessly interrupted byDonald Trump could come back to haunt him.

CNN demonstrated how the muted mics will work in a preview of the must-watch 90-minute political event hosted by anchors Dana Bash and Jake Tapper.

When it’s Biden or Trump’s turn to speak, there will be two green lights on behind their podium signaling the mic is on. When they speak, the audience can then hear them.

But those green lights are off when it is not in a candidate’s turn and their mic is muted.

CNN showed that when the candidate is seen on television attempting to interrupt or speak with the mic off, they cannot be heard on TV.

The podiums have two little green lights that will let Trump and Biden know when their microphone is up. When the lights go off, it means their mics are muted. Candidate mics will be muted when it's not their turn to speak

This is a change from when Biden and Trump came face-to-face at the general election debates just four years ago.

The Biden campaign requested the candidate microphones be muted when it is not their turn prior to accepting the terms for their first 2024 debate in Atlanta.

The goal was to promote an orderly event and eliminate some cross-talk.

In the first Trump-Biden debate in September 2020, Trump repeatedly spoke over Biden and interrupted to the point where Biden delivered one of the most memorable lines of the night telling his Republican opponent ‘will you shut up, man?’

Inside the first presidential debate: How exactly is this going to work?

We walk you through it all, from the stage, here:

— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) June 26, 2024

The green lights showing a candidate's mic is on during the debate. When the green lights go off, it means the candidate's mic is muted

During the September 2020 debate, Trump interrupted Biden numerous times to the point where Biden finally said 'will you shut up, man?'

Veteran political correspondent Katty Kay speaking on The Rest is Politics podcast ahead of the debate questioned the request by Biden’s team to have mics muted when it’s not their turn could be a ‘mistake’ by preventing Trump from looking like a ‘bullying interrupter.’

‘I’ve spoken to enough people around Donald Trump now to start wondering whether actually that was a mistake,’ she said. ‘Because the reason Joe Biden won that debate in 2020 was because there was Donald Trump interrupting him all the time.’

Read More The election is 'no longer a toss-up' with one candidate way ahead, top pollster reveals

‘This time around, Donald Trump is not going to be able to interrupt him, at least not in terms of what the public is going to hear. So does that mean then that Donald Trump is not going to look like the kind of crazy, rude, bullying interrupter because his mic is going to be muted?’

Fox News anchor Bret Baier also suggested the formatting of the showdown could help Trump.

‘This debate format with the mics being muted and no audience, in the studio, may go to Trump’s benefit somehow in that he’s not going to be like how he was in the first debate in 2020” noted Baier on air the day before the big debate.

His guest Mollie Hemingway from The Federalist agreed ‘it might actually help him.’

Jennifer Palmieri, a senior aide to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, said it will be a more watchable debate with the rules in place, but she warned Biden's team should be concerned by the appearance of a 'disciplined Trump.'

'The muted mics at tonight’s presidential debate may end up helping Trump avoid the interruptions and outbursts that tanked his likability during the first debate in 2020,' wrote political consultant and pollster Frank Luntz on X.

For those watching at home who want to hear what each candidate has to say, it could be a welcomed change from the chaos of 2020.

Lights will turn yellow when a candidate has 15 seconds left to speak. They will flash red when the candidate has five seconds to speak. They will remain red when the candidate's time is up and their mic is muted

Alfred, an Uber driver in Atlanta, said he was going to head home later to watch the debate. He called it must see TV and was very happy with the plan to turn mics off.He said he hopes it would allow him to hear exactly what the candidates are saying.

On X, there has been mixed reaction to the idea of muting mics during the debate. Some Trump supporters claimed it would help Biden and accused CNN of rigging the debate ahead of the big event. Others welcomed the rule, arguing it would allow for a more civilized conversation.

Trump and Biden will be aware of how much time they each have left to speak based on the lights on the cameras.

When the lights turn yellow, candidates have fifteen seconds left to answer. When lights flash red, they have five seconds left and when the lights remain solid red, their time is up and their mic will be muted.

According to guidelines previously revealed by CNN, candidate positions at the podiums will be determined by a coin flip.

CNN reveals how they will mute the microphones during the debate (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Last Updated:

Views: 5845

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Birthday: 1998-01-29

Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

Phone: +5819954278378

Job: Construction Director

Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.