Viewers decide about hearing news


After the dust has settled from Thursday’s bouts of interrogation and questioning by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to both Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, how did certain parts of the news media provide coverage to the American people?

Text box captions at the bottom of the TV screen, also called lower-thirds, not only tell viewers what the news is, they say what the network wants them to make of it. In the event of a big news event, they are a way for viewers to peer into the newsroom and see how those different networks interpret what is being said.

During Ford’s testimony, CNN and MSNBC frequently returned to a statement she made saying she was “100%” certain that Kavanaugh was the one who assaulted her.

Fox News mentioned it only once. Those networks also referred several times to Ford’s sentiment that it was her “civic duty” to testify.

During Kavanaugh’s testimony, Fox’s lower thirds changed much more frequently, including several quotes from his emotional opening statement.

CNN and MSNBC frequently referenced a few notable quotes, including “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone” and “I am innocent of this charge.”

During a 30-minute break around lunchtime, CNN and MSNBC rotated lower-thirds with quotes from Ford’s testimony. Fox News mentioned Ford’s “100 percent” statement but, for most of its coverage during the break, said the hearing had paused.

Although it seems continuity between networks is still a lot to ask for this day in age, viewers have to make a choice themselves as to how to take in what is being conveyed through the screen.