Fact Check

Did Fox News' Chyron Say 'Wannabe Dictator' During Biden-Trump Speeches?

The network was doing a live broadcast of Donald Trump’s post-arraignment speech.

Published June 14, 2023

 (Screenshot via Fox News/Mediaite)
Image Via Screenshot via Fox News/Mediaite
Claim:
On June 13, 2023, during a split-screen broadcast of Donald Trump’s post-arraignment speech and remarks by Joe Biden, a Fox News chyron read, “Wannabe dictator speaks at the White House after having his political rival arrested.”

On June 13, 2023, hours after former U.S. President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty in a Miami courtroom to dozens of charges stemming from the alleged mishandling of classified documents, he delivered a speech from his New Jersey golf resort. Fox News broadcasted the speech live, on Fox News Tonight.

U.S. President Joe Biden was speaking at the White House at the same time, at an event commemorating Juneteenth. Fox aired live footage of the two politicians speaking at their separate events in a side-by-side split screen. And, according to viral footage and images on social media, a chyron underneath them allegedly read: "Wannabe dictator speaks at the White House after having his political rival arrested."

Fox News did indeed briefly post such a chyron, as evidenced by reporting from reputable news outlets such as The GuardianNew York Times, as well as footage obtained by Snopes via a database of archived TV segments

The chyron popped up around 8:59 p.m. (EST), and disappeared after roughly 20 seconds, as host Sean Hannity took over, according to the archived footage. During that moment, Fox aired audio of Trump speaking, while Biden was muted.

We asked Fox News to respond to the chyron, and a spokesperson said in a statement: "The chyron was taken down immediately and was addressed." They did not elaborate further, which meant no information was given about who authored the chyron and how others inside the media organization responded.

Reporters and many social media users assumed the "wannabe dictator" label was a reference to Biden, since he was the politician speaking at the White House and Trump was the one whom had been arrested. Furthermore, the chyron referenced a belief by critics of the president that he had a role in Trump's arrest.

In Trump's speech at his New Jersey golf resort, the former president repeated that notion, claiming that he was a victim of political "persecution" and calling Biden "the most corrupt president in the history of the United States." 

A few hours prior, Trump was arraigned and plead not guilty to 37 felonies related to the alleged mishandling of classified materials at his Mar-a-Lago club.

Given Fox News' acknowledgement of the chyron in statements to journalists, as well as archived footage of the brief moment on Fox, we rated this claim as "True."

Sources

"Fox News Chyron Calls Biden 'Wannabe Dictator' in Split Screen During Trump Speech." Mediaite, 14 June 2023, https://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-news-chyron-calls-biden-wannabe-dictator-in-split-screen-during-trump-speech/. Accessed 14 June 2023.

"Fox Onscreen Message Calls Biden a 'wannabe Dictator' Following Trump Arraignment." AP NEWS, 14 June 2023, https://apnews.com/article/fox-wannabe-dictator-biden-trump-speech-1a9750c5dfcfb0a6482f3c51674ae08f. Accessed 14 June 2023.

Fox News Tonight : FOXNEWSW : June 13, 2023 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT. 14 June 2023. Internet Archive, http://archive.org/details/FOXNEWSW_20230614_000000_Fox_News_Tonight. Accessed 14 June 2023.

Ives, Mike. "Fox News Chyron Calls Biden a 'Wannabe Dictator.'" The New York Times, 14 June 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/14/business/media/fox-news-biden-dictator-trump.html. Accessed 14 June 2023.

"Remarks by President Biden at a Juneteenth Concert." The White House, 14 June 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/06/13/remarks-by-president-biden-at-a-juneteenth-concert/. Accessed 14 June 2023.

Singh, Maanvi. "Trump Claims 'Political Persecution' in Speech after Arraignment." The Guardian, 14 June 2023. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jun/13/trump-new-jersey-speech-after-arraignment. Accessed 14 June 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.