Descriptions like “very powerful” and “really stellar” on MSNBC and CNN. And “asinine” and “irrational” on Fox News.
Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial last week featured explicit language rarely heard on American airwaves, particularly during a dramatic 13-minute video presented by House managers that showed scenes from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the enraged, violent mob that caused it. Why was hearing that language on network television unusual? And what might it mean for the future when it comes to broadcast standards?
The incident was a dramatic illustration of the tightrope walked by programmers at television networks that appeal to fans of former President Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial.
A tape of the seige on the Capitol, compiled from several sources by the House impeachment managers, offered a chronological view of the former president’s statements on Jan. 6 and the actions by a mob of his supporters as they broke into the Capitol. It included several examples of rough language, including a chant, “f—- the blue,” apparently directed at police officers, and use of the word “motherf——-” by a rioter. The footage was aired on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC as part of live coverage of the trial’s first day.