President Trump’s campaign says CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC are chilling free speech with their decision to reject an advertisement touting the successes of his first 100 days in office.
The ad, released Monday, blames the media for failing to adequately report Trump’s accomplishments, which it lists as the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the authorization of the Keystone XL pipeline and the elimination of Obama-era regulations.
The ad also superimposes the word “fake news” over images of CNN’s Wolf Blitzer along with anchors for MSNBC, CBS, ABC and PBS.
“Setting a chilling precedent against free speech rights, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. has just learned that now, all of the mainstream media television networks have decided to block the paid placement of a campaign ad that celebrates the achievements of President Trump in his first 100 days in office,” the Trump campaign release states.
“The ad was first released on Monday, May 1. Since then, one by one, the mainstream TV networks have blocked the ad from running, including CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC.”
CNN said Tuesday that it was not going to air a campaign ad from Trump because of the reference to fake news.
“CNN requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that says mainstream media is ‘fake news,’” CNN's public relations department tweeted.
“The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false. Per our policy, it will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted. Those are the facts.”
The Trump campaign fired back at CNN in a written statement, saying the 37-year-old network “epitomizes” the meaning of “fake news," and also issued a press release touting online viewership for the ad, saying it received more than 1.5 million views between Facebook and YouTube despite CNN's refusal to air it.
The Hill has reached out to ABC, NBC and CBS News for comment.
Trump has come under criticism for his frequent feuds with the news media. He has repeatedly accused journalists of writing and airing “fake news,” and the media and Democrats have accused him of trying to squash a free press and First Amendment rights.
The fight over the campaign ad, however, allows Trump to try to turn the tables on the media by accusing them of censorship.
“Apparently, the mainstream media are champions of the First Amendment only when it serves their own political views,” Lara Trump says in the campaign statement. Lara Trump is the president’s daughter-in-law, and she serves as a media consultant for his campaign organization.
“Faced with an ad that doesn't fit their biased narrative, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC have now all chosen to block our ad," said Lara Trump. “This is an unprecedented act of censorship in America that should concern every freedom-loving citizen.”