Cable News

How cable news networks reacted to Comey’s hearing

After the widely publicized testimony of former FBI director James B. Comey testimony yesterday, the Washington Post published an article about how different cable news channels interpreted what was said. This is an important piece. Please be sure to see their graphic image.

The Washington Post followed three major networks — MSNBC, CNN and FOX — as they reported on the hearing. Each network showed the same hearing: Senators asking questions, Mr. Comey answering them, and a bunch of people in the room. The questions and answers were covered by each. But MSNBC, CNN and FOX all covered this one story with three very different views.

TV networks use captions — also called chyrons or lower-thirds — below the image to influence how we interpret what is being said, and what the station wants us to take away as our message. In a timeline in this article, the Post shows each message, when it appeared, and for how long it showed.

FOX used the fewest chyrons, and they repeated these messages over and over to influence their audience’s perspective on a subliminal level.  CNN and MSNBC went for sensationalism, but at least quickly reported what was being said. As one commenter said, “it cannot be understated, the effect these snippets have in formulating public opinion.”

Do you ever wonder how different people can view the same information in entirely different views? This piece shows the accurate, but skewed, vision that comes from different sources. If you rely only on one source, or one type of source, you won’t get the full picture.

So, what do you do? Get informed. Think for yourself by watching it on CSpan, without the captions,  or read the transcript and ignore the news entirely. Or watch or read a story from multiple sources, so that you can intelligently “take what you want and leave the rest.”

It doesn’t matter if you are Progressive, Conservative, or somewhere in between: If you want to bring about change, you need to know what the other team is thinking, and why they are thinking that way. Then you can communicate. Without communication, there will be no change.

But be respectful. Because, without respect, there can be no communication, either.