Trump campaign fumes after Twitter declines to tag new Democratic attack ads
President Trump’s reelection campaign is venting frustration with Twitter after the social media giant refused to apply its “manipulated media” warning tags to two new videos released by the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
It’s the second time in a week that Twitter has shut down requests from the Trump campaign to sanction Democratic attack ads that the president’s allies say were deceptively edited.
Twitter recently slapped a manipulated media tag on a pro-Trump ad, leading to allegations from the president’s campaign that the company is only enforcing its standards in favor of Democrats.
“Twitter’s arbitrary rules only seem to apply to the Trump campaign,” said spokesman Andrew Clark. “Once again, they’ve failed to provide any sort of clarity about why they are censoring video of Joe Biden’s obvious issues while giving a pass to deceptively edited videos spread by his campaign and his allies. The DNC’s manipulated videos have been fact-checked as false, so it’s difficult to read Twitter’s refusal to label these videos as anything else than an effort to protect Joe Biden.”
According to emails viewed by The Hill, a Trump campaign staffer on Saturday flagged two DNC videos for Twitter and requested the company review the ads under its new manipulated media policy.
The first tweet from the DNC states: “Yesterday, Trump said he didn’t disband the government’s pandemic response team. He lied. Here he is earlier this year defending doing just that.”
Yesterday, Trump said he didn’t disband the government’s pandemic response team.
He lied. Here he is earlier this year defending doing just that: pic.twitter.com/oQOBFZLv1u
— DNC War Room (@DNCWarRoom) March 14, 2020
The video shows Trump talking about “the people we cut” because “I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them.”
However, FactCheck.org deemed the ad misleading.
Trump’s remarks were in response to a question about the White House’s proposed budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, which have not been enacted by Congress.
Trump was not responding to a question about his administration’s restructuring of the National Security Council’s Office of Global Health Security and Biodefense as the DNC video implies, according to FactCheck.org.
And a second video the Trump campaign flagged features a DNC tweet of the president’s fiery exchange with NBC reporter Peter Alexander.
What’s Trump’s message to Americans who are sick, losing work, and scared?
He doesn’t have one. So he attacks the reporter who dared to ask the question.
This is disgusting, but not surprising.
— DNC War Room (@DNCWarRoom) March 20, 2020
The video does not include Alexander’s question that provoked the exchange, in which he asked: “Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope?”
A Twitter employee responded to the Trump campaign’s request by saying: “Our site integrity team has reviewed both pieces of media against the Synthetic and Manipulated Media Policy and determined both do not qualify for a label at this time.”
The Trump campaign is particularly angered by the DNC tweet featuring Alexander, saying that one of their own videos was tagged as manipulated media for not including the full exchange.
Twitter earlier this month sanctioned a Trump campaign video for showing a clip of Biden saying: “We can only reelect Donald Trump.”
In a full clip of the moment, Biden says, “We can only reelect Donald Trump if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It’s gotta be a positive campaign.”
Twitter slapped the “manipulated media” tag on the Trump campaign video after determining that it did not include Biden’s full remarks and therefore had been taken out of context.
Earlier this week, the Trump campaign flagged new content on Twitter that it said had been deceptively edited to make it seem like the president had called the coronavirus a “hoax.”
The video, which has been viewed and shared millions of times on Twitter, features Trump saying: “The coronavirus, this is their new hoax.”
The Washington Post’s fact-checkers gave four “Pinocchios” to a previous advertisement from former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign using the same audio. Other fact checkers, including Snopes, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org came to the same conclusion.
The fact-checkers determined that Trump was talking about Democratic efforts to politicize the virus, rather than the virus itself.
Trump’s full quote was: “Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’ They have no clue, they don’t have any clue … and this is their new hoax. But you know we did something that’s been pretty amazing.”
Twitter declined to sanction the Democratic video under its manipulated media policy.
A Trump campaign source said they would continue to flag media for Twitter “until they decide to start applying their standards equally.”
Twitter has not responded to a request for comment.
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