CNN labeled it an "unmitigated disaster." ABC said we all lost that debate. An analyst on Fox News shamelessly declared "Trump came very prepared" and was "very good on the specifics."
I know I'm in the minority when I say I found the first presidential debate of 2020 thoroughly entertaining and probably the best/funniest television I've watched in a while. Joe Biden was calm, Trump was hysterical, and Chris Wallace once again showed he has a backbone, refusing to cave to his fellow complacent and cowardly Fox News anchors.
While Joe Biden did largely remain cool and collected, he did at one point refer to Trump as a "clown" before correcting himself and using more "presidential" language. However, as is to be expected, Fox News was quick to hone in on Biden's error, largely promoting the narrative that he "shifted into name calling" and was close to losing his temper. This is a perfect metaphor for last few months of Black Lives Matter protests.
Biden began the night rather relaxed and interested in civil discourse, but Trump came in hot and heavy, continually interrupting Biden and not letting him speak. Biden, in this metaphor, is representative of protestors who are peaceful and would like to engage in civil discussions as to how we can best end police brutality. Trump is a force trying to silence his opponent with repressive tactics, just like the police.
While calm 99% of the time, Biden did in a few instances allow himself to resort to more Trumpian tactics. This is similar to how some protestors resort to violence after police antagonization . That is, when you're voice is being repressed and you are denied access to civil discourse, at some point you're likely to diverge from the high road in order to be heard.
Even though the majority of protestors and Joe Biden are peaceful and civil very nearly 100% of the time, Fox News has zero problem putting their own spin on it. Just as the "news" network framed all protestors and Black Lives Matter supporters as violent radicals, they also portray Biden as unhinged and aggressive toward the "innocent" President. At best, this is using selective truth to advance a political narrative. At worst, this is blatant lying to advance a political narrative. I'm inclined to say it's the latter.