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EXPLAINER: Why impeachment evidence tested TV's standards

In this image from video, body camera video from a Metropolitan Police Department officer is shown to senators, as House impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., speaks during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)
In this image from video, body camera video from a Metropolitan Police Department officer is shown to senators, as House impeachment manager Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., speaks during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Senate Television via AP) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

NEW YORK – All the words abounded — the ones that you're not supposed to hear on broadcast television or, for that matter, in a lot of other places.

Former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial last week featured explicit language rarely heard on American airwaves, particularly during a dramatic 13-minute video presented by House managers that showed scenes from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the enraged, violent mob that caused it.

Why was hearing that language on network television unusual? And what might it mean for the future when it comes to broadcast standards?

WHAT DID THE RIOTERS SAY?

Repeated obscenities were shouted by members of the angry and agitated pro-Trump mob as they moved toward and inside the U.S. Capitol that day. They included a chant of “f—- the blue,” apparently directed at police officers, and other swear words including “motherf——-,” as the crowd became more confrontational and violent.

They were heard on several networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. Often, they were seen as well; the House managers printed some of the dialogue on screens so viewers were clear about the often-muffled sounds that they were hearing.

Many of the networks bleeped out the offending language when repeating videos later, but not when they were broadcast live.

WHY IS THAT UNUSUAL?