How Cable News Handled Biden and Trump at the Southern Border

Nicolle Wallace dedicated most of her afternoon talk show to the implications of the Supreme Court’s move on Wednesday to take up Mr. Trump’s claims of presidential immunity. Ms. Wallace opened her 4 p.m. program by warning that the court had endangered a cherished notion that no individual is above the law. She spoke with Andrew Weissmann, a lead prosecutor in Robert S. Mueller’s investigation of Mr. Trump, and Charlie Sykes, a former conservative pundit who identifies as a Never Trumper.

Ms. Wallace did not notify her viewers when either Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden began speaking in Texas, although later in the program she aired clips of Mr. Biden’s remarks.

CNN carried the appearances of both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump. After Mr. Trump concluded, the anchor Kaitlan Collins told viewers, “As we do after every Trump speech, it seems, we have to have a series of fact checks.” Ms. Collins noted that Mr. Trump had “told several lies about the border” and misrepresented his past actions on the issue. Daniel Dale, a CNN fact checker, presented a segment breaking down the falsehoods in Mr. Trump’s remarks.

Later, after Mr. Biden spoke, Mr. Dale came onscreen again. He noted that Mr. Biden had stuck closely to his prepared remarks, which were “scripted in an accurate way,” as opposed to Mr. Trump’s more freewheeling approach. “I don’t have any fact checks of President Biden here,” Mr. Dale said, “but that’s for an obvious reason.”

Given Americans’ fatigue with political news, and general dissatisfaction with the expected candidates, it may not be surprising that CNN offered viewers a broader mix of topics. Shortly before Mr. Trump spoke, CNN brought on Bill Nye, the famed “science guy,” to explain the phenomenon of Leap Day. Mr. Nye offered an astronomy lesson, complete with a miniature globe.

“Bill, that was so much of what I wanted and more,” said the CNN anchor, Boris Sanchez. “I appreciate you and all of your props.”