Former President Donald Trump delivered a measured speech in Bedminster, N.J. on Tuesday night in the wake of his arraignment by the Supreme Court. Despite his calm demeanor, public broadcaster PBS chose to warn viewers of “Violent rhetoric has escalated in online forums and far–right militia groups since Trump’s federal indictment” and “Experts warn that inflammatory rhetoric from elected officials or people in power can prompt individual actors to commit acts of violence.”
Meanwhile, Joe Biden delivered his “red speech” in Philadelphia on the same night, during which he demonized millions of MAGA Americans as a threat to the very foundation of the Republic, yet he received no such warning from PBS.
Fox News, one of the few networks to cover it live, also experienced chyron issues. As Trump discussed how Hillary Clinton didn’t have the power to declassify anything in her classified document scandal, a chyron appeared saying, “Wannabe dictator speaks at the White House after having his political rival arrested.” This caused a meltdown by the left, with some arguing the White House should cut off Fox from briefings or their advertisers should cut them off.
A journalism professor warned the left that they were only spreading the claim further by commenting on it, and Fox has yet to comment on the chyron issue. Folks on the right thought it was hilarious and on point. Chances are it was a mistake or anomaly, rather than a greater comment by Fox, and maybe it was meant for Sean Hannity’s opinion show.
The PBS chyrons, however, appear to be intentional. This is in contrast to the lack of chyrons during Biden’s equally fiery remarks and may be seen by some as a smear attempt on Trump. President Trump and his supporters have accused the major media of double standards multiple times, and this incident will certainly draw further criticism.
It appears that the combined chyron issue is rooted in a desire from both Fox News and PBS to dictate the narrative of the election and its aftermath. Though the truth of the matter is that a chyron or lead–in of opinion is not the same as news reporting. It is a dangerous practice to interfere with the words of an official speech by manipulating the narrative, as it risks creating a false storyline that can potentially lead to dire consequences in the future.
A real Fox News chyron at the end of its 8 p.m. hour. pic.twitter.com/7fUT1Nj62D
— The Recount (@therecount) June 14, 2023