Red, white and blue abound in cable coverage of Biden-Putin summit

The major cable networks offered extended coverage of the summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin June 16, 2021, with looks that took full advantage of the countries’ shared color palette. 

MSNBC started coverage with “Morning Joe,” with the entire primary anchor team, including Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist in Washington, D.C., using the studio that’s usually home to the “Meet the Press” — a setup that included a total of six people around the circular table (the network swapped out the custom circular “MTP” rug under the table with a peacock themed one).

MSNBC’s coverage used the title “Biden Putin Summit.” 

The studio’s video walls and digital wall mounted “picture frames” featured red, white and blue themed imagery that combined the U.S. and Russian flags, which happen to have the same colors.

Later editions of “MSNBC Reports” used similar looks and also incorporated “video on video” shots from New York City. These hours also included a full width banner along the bottom of the screen with a waving American flag on the left and Russian one on the right.

Also used were images of Switzerland, Putin and Biden as well as stars and stripe elements.


CNN borrowed elements from its angular election look to create a red, white and blue look and split anchored “New Day” with John Berman in New York, Brianna Keilar in Washington, D.C. and Wolf Blitzer and Switzerland.

CNN inserted a short banner along the bottom of the screen with its summit branding, “The Biden-Putin Summit.”

Fox started its “Fox & Friends” and “America’s Newsroom” hours with coverage of the summit, but moved on to other stories during both broadcasts, much to the chagrin of some on social media.

The network used its “Alert” branding but also had special fullscreen wipes and “sliver” graphics for the summit using the “Biden Putin Summit” banner.

Fox used the flag elements but also added a mountainscape.

While CNN and MSNBC stuck with the summit almost exclusively throughout the morning, including offering in-depth looks at potential issues such as Russia’s meddling with the 2016 election that put Donald Trump in the White House, Fox wandered off into other areas, including a story about a series about so-called “Karens” and questioning the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, often relegating the summit to a small box in the corner of the screen.