How CNN, Fox News and Other TV Networks Are Covering Ukraine

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Across television news on Thursday, the coverage included haunting overhead shots of the emptied streets of Kyiv, punctuated by the sounds of air raid sirens and occasional explosions. Some correspondents narrated the events from the safety of hotel room balconies; others were seen wearing flak jackets and helmets in more perilous situations.

Clarissa Ward, CNN’s chief international correspondent, interviewed frightened Ukrainians from inside a crowded Kharkiv subway station where people had fled to hide from bombings. “Just as we arrived here there were more explosions, people came flooding down the stairs into this subway station,” Ms. Ward told viewers.

The head of CNN International, Mike McCarthy, said in an interview that the network had 75 people in Ukraine, including drivers and local interpreters. The network is using the city of Lviv in western Ukraine as its base, in part to ensure that broadcasts were not interrupted by cyberattacks that may affect Kyiv. He said CNN had “six or seven” backup communications systems in case any failed.

CNN’s newsroom has faced turmoil this month with the abrupt ouster of its longtime president, Jeff Zucker. On Thursday, David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery Inc., which is close to a merger with CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, said on an earnings calls that the network’s coverage of the invasion was “a proud moment.”

MSNBC also went into breaking news mode, although like Fox News it highlighted its most popular opinion hosts. Rachel Maddow, who was on a two-month hiatus from the network, returned on Thursday to host prime-time coverage.

Amid the gravity of a high-stakes international conflict that has threatened the modern security structure of Europe, some viewers seized on lighter moments. Some partisan accounts on Twitter pointed out the jarring nature of an Applebee’s commercial, with a jingle about “a little bit of chicken fried,” that aired during CNN’s coverage. (Applebee’s said later that it had contacted CNN to pause its advertising on the network; “it never should have aired,” a representative for the restaurant chain said.)

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