A tale of two networks: Fox lets GOP attacks in sidebar

Although all of the footage coming from the house impeachment hearing room is the essentially the same, that doesn’t stop networks from inserting their own angles thanks to on-screen graphics. 

A pointed example of this phenomenon was tweeted by Media Matters for America’s Danielle Misiak, showing the Ambassador William Taylor on screen. 

One showed Fox’s cable channel’s “sidebar” bullet points and another showed MSNBC’s.

Fox’s three points included:

  • “Oct 23: (Donald) Trump dismissed Taylor as a ‘never Trumper'”
  • “(White House) called Taylor’s closed-door testimony ‘triple hearsay'”
  • “GOP stays Taylor had no first-hand knowledge about Ukraine aid”

By comparison, MSNBC made these points (it also identified Taylor as “Bill” instead of “William”):

  • “Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine since June”
  • “Testified he hard ‘clear understanding’ aid tied to probes”
  • “Texted it would be ‘crazy’ to withhold Ukraine military aid.”

MSNBC’s first point is an undeniable biographical fact. Its two other points, while slightly loaded, are also points that are documented.

Fox inserted some of the basic info, including some of MSNBC’s points, before veering off track.


Fox used three sets of three boxes of key points prior to unabashedly filled its final sidebar with points made by Donald Trump, the White House in general and the GOP — all of which are attempts to discredit Taylor.

While none of these statements were untrue — each of them were statements taken directly from a party with a vested interest in protecting Trump or the current administration. 

Both networks also inserted lower third banners with a variety of key points, quotes and highlights.