NBC News, Facebook Partnering on Republican Primary Debate

By Alex Weprin 

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NBC News’ “Meet the Press” and Facebook are partnering on a Republican Presidential primary debate, to be held the Sunday before the New Hampshire primary next year. The debate will be held live at 9 AM ET, and will be broadcast on NBC and Facebook, as well as on New England Cable News (NECN), the regional cable news channel owned by NBCUniversal.

At the moment NBC and Facebook are being mum on how the interactive elements will work, but in a statement the companies explain: “In this unique venue, candidates will make their case to voters and viewers will be able to react and discuss within their online communities.”

Likewise, “Meet the Press” anchor David Gregory explains the debate in a video:

More information, after the jump.



WASHINGTON, DC — July 18, 2011 — America’s number one news network and the world’s largest social network have partnered to host a first-of-its-kind presidential debate in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

On the Sunday immediately before the New Hampshire Republican primary, NBC News’ “Meet the Press” and Facebook will present an innovative, multi-platform forum for the GOP presidential debate. In this unique venue, candidates will make their case to voters and viewers will be able to react and discuss within their online communities. The event will take place at 9 a.m. ET in the historic Chubb Theatre at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire.

The NBC News Facebook GOP Debate, moderated by NBC’s David Gregory, will air on the NBC network as a special edition of “Meet the Press” and will stream live on Facebook to create an interactive experience. Starting today, viewers and users can go to facebook.com/MeetThePress and facebook.com/USPolitics to share questions for the debate and interact with others interested in the event.

“This is sure to add a ground-breaking new chapter to the rich history of ‘Meet the Press’ political debates,” said Steve Capus, President of NBC News. “What really sets this partnership apart is that we are able to combine the reach of NBC’s audiences and Facebook’s users to connect with engaged, informed communities. The debate will take place next year, but the conversation has already started on the ‘Meet the Press’ Facebook page and on the broadcast every Sunday.”

“The robust activity on Facebook around recent elections demonstrates Facebook’s increasing role in the democratic process,” said Joel Kaplan, Vice President of U.S. Public Policy at Facebook. “Voters expect to be able to learn about and interact with candidates on Facebook and we’re pleased to expand that opportunity by teaming up with NBC News to present this uniquely participatory debate.”

The NBC News Facebook GOP Debate will also:
– air live and re-air on MSNBC
– air live on New England Cable News (NECN) throughout New Hampshire and New England
– stream live and be available on demand on msnbc.com.

NBC News has been a leading source of global news and information for more than 75 years, first on radio, and today via broadcast and cable television, the Internet, radio and mobile devices. Operating around the clock with bureaus in key cities in the U.S. and overseas, NBC News provides immediate coverage and in-depth reporting of major events to a worldwide audience.

“Meet the Press” is the longest running show in television and continues to be the highest rated, most watched, and most quoted Sunday morning public affairs program today.

Launched in February 2004, Facebook is a social utility that gives people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Facebook has connected more than 750 million people around the world and has played a role in encouraging civic and political engagement. Governments, lawmakers, and political campaigns around the world are using Facebook to communicate authentically with citizens in ways unimaginable a decade ago.