Watching Fox News—or any cable-news channel, really—most eyeballs are immediately drawn to the rectangle of text and graphics that consumes the bottom quarter of the TV screen. This strip is called a chyron, and it’s basically a televised headline used to summarize in direct language the key part of the segment currently airing. There is someone sitting in the control room whose job it is to generate these chyrons. The chyron guy for Fox’s late-morning program Happening Now is having a bad day.
About 20 minutes into Monday’s Happening Now, host Jon Scott convened a discussion segment about Trump’s spat with the widow of a U.S. soldier killed earlier this month in Niger. The widow, Myeshia Johnson, claims that Trump struggled to remember her deceased husband’s name during his tone-deaf condolence call; Johnson’s claims have been seconded by Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, who says that she heard part of the phone call firsthand.
Though Fox News has spent a lot of time on this story over the past week, its chyron operators apparently have not yet learned to correctly spell Johnson’s first name. A chyron citing “Mayeshia Johnson” (superfluous a) stayed up for a good three-and-a-half minutes this morning on Happening Now.
Here it is when I first noticed it at 11:22 a.m.:
Well, that’s embarrassing! Literally the first thing you learn in journalism is how important it is to spell people’s names right, and how you should double- and triple-check those names before publishing. When you notice that you’ve made an error, you’re supposed to fix that error, fast. Did Fox fix it fast?
Hmm, OK, well, maybe the Chyron Guy is on a coffee break. Let’s give it another minute.
I suppose it’s possible that the typo is a sly commentary on President Trump’s alleged struggle to recall Johnson’s deceased husband’s name. But, then again, Fox News doesn’t really do metatextual criticism. Hmmm. Let’s give it another 50 seconds.
Better luck tomorrow, Happening Now Chyron Guy!