Skip to main content
U.S. Elections

Biden chooses right side of TV screen over final word at debate. Why?

Share

CNN gave President Joe Biden an option ahead of the first presidential debate to choose between two debate advantages. He opted for stage positioning over a closing statement advantage that could shape how viewers perceive him in the critical showdown against former President Donald Trump.

Media Landscape

See who else is reporting on this story and which side of the political spectrum they lean. To read other sources, click on the plus signs below.

Learn more about this data

Left 33%

Center 46%

Right 21%

Bias Distribution Powered by Ground News

Biden won the coin toss conducted by CNN. It allowed him to choose between the placement on the debate stage or the opportunity to deliver the final remarks of the evening. He chose to position himself on the left side of the stage, translating to the right side of the television screen for viewers at home.

QR code for SAN app download

Download the SAN app today to stay up-to-date with Unbiased. Straight Facts™.

Point phone camera here

Biden’s decision could be a calculated move to maximize visibility. It could potentially capitalize on some studies suggesting viewers’ eyes are naturally drawn to the right side of a screen. While the White House has not offered an official explanation, there may be psychological reasoning behind Biden’s choice.

In a similar context, late-night talk show hosts consistently prefer the “stage left” placement, aligning them on the right side of television screens. According to Slate Magazine, this positioning centers around the cultural tendency to read and watch from left to right. The right side of the screen commands more attention.

This is not unfamiliar territory for Biden. In the 2020 presidential debates against Trump, Biden also stood on the right side of the screen, maintaining a consistent strategy in televised confrontations.

With just days left before the debate and a significant portion of voters still undecided or leaning toward third-party options, the stakes are high. Recent polling from Reuters indicates 20% of voters remain uncommitted or are considering alternative candidates. That poll highlights the importance of the upcoming debate performances.

In the latest NPR/PBS poll, Trump and Biden are tied at 49% each among likely voters. The poll underscores the competitiveness of the race.

Financially, the campaigns also remain locked in a tight battle. Despite trailing in fundraising earlier this year, Trump closed the gap, surpassing Biden’s fundraising efforts in April and May. More notably, Trump raised tens of millions of dollars after a jury convicted him of falsifying business records.

Both campaigns are preparing for a fundraising push with hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank. With just months to go until Election Day, and days until the first debate, campaign season is in full swing.

Tags: , , , ,

[KARAH RUCKER]

THE SIDE OF THE SCREEN WHERE AMERICA SEES BIDEN DURING THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO HIM THAN GETTING THE FINAL WORD OF THE EVENING.

THOSE WERE BIDEN’S TWO ADVANTAGES TO CHOOSE FROM WHEN HE WON CNN’S COIN FLIP.

THE WINNER GOT TO CHOOSE STAGE PLACEMENT. OR. ORDER OF CLOSING STATEMENTS.

BIDEN WILL BE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE STAGE –

WHICH TRANSLATES TO THE **RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR TV SCREEN.

SO WHY IS IT THAT BIDEN CARED MORE ABOUT THAT POSITIONING THAN GETTING TO BE THE DEBATE CLOSER?

THE WHITE HOUSE HASN’T YET SAID.

BUT THERE MIGHT BE A PSYCHOLOGICAL REASONING BEHIND IT.

 

SOME STUDIES SUGGEST THAT A VIEWER’S EYES ARE INHERENTLY DRAWN TO THE RIGHT.

SO IN THE CASE OF A SPLIT SCREEN WITH TRUMP ON THE LEFT AND BIDEN ON THE RIGHT –

BIDEN COULD BE BANKING ON GETTING MORE ATTENTION FROM THE AUDIENCE BY CHOOSING THIS SIDE.

NOT BY HIS WORDS OR EVEN ACTIONS.

JUST BY THE NOTION THAT A PERSON’S EYES NATURALLY GRAVITATE TO THE RIGHT OF A SCREEN. 

A 2010 ARTICLE BY SLATE LOOKED INTO A SIMILAR STAGE SETTING.

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS. 

AND HOW THE SHOW HOSTS ARE ALWAYS POSITIONED “STAGE LEFT” WHICH PUTS THEM ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR TELEVISION.

FROM DAVID LETTERMAN AND JOHNNY CARSON. TO JIMMY FALLON AND JIMMY KIMMEL. 

“SLATE MAGAZINE” EXPLAINS WHY HOSTS PREFER THIS PLACEMENT.

THE ARTICLE SUGGESTS “BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM SEEM POWERFUL. IN WESTERN CULTURE, WE READ FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, AND WE WATCH THEATER AND TELEVISION THAT WAY, TOO. OUR EYES END UP ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SCREEN.”

IT’S A PLACE OF FAMILIARITY FOR BIDEN TOO.

IN 2020’S TWO PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES – BIDEN WAS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SCREEN IN BOTH OF THESE DEBATE MATCH UPS.

THE STAGE IS SET.

THE RULES ARE IN PLACE.

AND APPARENTLY –

THERE’S A LOT ON THE LINE –

A GOOD CHUNK OF UNDECIDED VOTERS.

ACCORDING TO THE LATEST REUTERS POLLING –

20 PERCENT OF VOTERS SAY THEY HAVE NOT PICKED A CANDIDATE IN THIS YEAR’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE, ARE LEANING TOWARD A THIRD-PARTY CANDIDATE, OR LEANING TOWARD NOT VOTING AT ALL.

IN THE LATEST NPR/PBS POLL –

TRUMP AND BIDEN ARE DEAD EVEN – AT 49% APIECE.

IT’S A TIGHT RACE –

AND FURTHER PROOF OF IT IS IN THE POCKETBOOKS OF EACH CAMPAIGN.

AT THE START OF APRIL – TRUMP WAS BEHIND BIDEN’S FUNDRAISING EFFORTS BY MORE THAN 100 MILLION DOLLARS.

TRUMP OUTFUNDRAISED BIDEN IN APRIL AND MAY –

AS “POST-CONVICTION TRUMP” CONTINUES TO SEE DONATIONS SURGE.

WITH HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ABOUT TO POUR IN FROM BOTH CAMPS –

FOUR MONTHS TO GO BEFORE THE ELECTION AND LESS THAN A WEEK FROM THE FIRST DEBATE.

CAMPAIGN SEASON IS IN FULL SWING.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

FOR MORE ELECTION-RELATED STORIES THAT MATTER TO YOU –

DOWNLOAD THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP.

OR VISIT US AT SAN DOT COM.