CNN, MSNBC to air ad on American Nazis film

CNN and MSNBC have both decided to air a commercial for a film about American Nazis, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The ad, which is for the short film “A Night at the Garden,” will air during CNN's “The Situation Room” and MSNBC's “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Monday, according to the Post. The film is nominated for an Academy Award and shows footage from a 1939 Nazi rally in New York.


“We decided to dig deep and pay for television ads we weren’t planning to buy because we wanted to make the point that Fox News is out of the mainstream,” the movie’s director, Marshall Curry, told the newspaper.

“It says something that some news channels trust their audience to interpret American history while Fox distrusts its audience and doesn’t think it can do that.”

MSNBC initially turned down the commercial after an NBC Universal standards group determined the content was too graphic. It gave the filmmakers suggested revisions that would make it proper for air, including that the ad would need to provide context before showing the rally. The filmmakers came back with a revised commercial, which MSNBC accepted, the Post reported.

“We wanted to make sure viewers had full understanding and appropriate context of this ad. And the filmmakers were open to feedback to make a change,” MSNBC spokesman Joe Benarroch told the newspaper.

Fox News had initially rejected an earlier version of the ad, citing the amount of Nazi imagery and stating it didn’t meet the network’s guidelines. It is unclear if Fox would accept and air the revised ad. 

The film examines the 1939 rally held by the Bund, an American Nazi Party which attracted 20,000 supporters to Madison Square Garden on Feb. 20, 1939. The filmmakers say it is intended as a warning about the current political climate. They said they explicitly sought out airtime on Fox to reach supporters of President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE.

“The point of the spot is less about rallying people who are already worried [about demagoguery] than reaching people who don’t realize how dangerous this tactic is,” Curry told The Post.

“Anyone who’s fair-minded would see there’s nothing offensive about it,” Curry added. “I’d love to get a call from Fox saying they re-thought this and will air it. But I’d also love for viewers to hear about this and say, ‘Wait, what is it about this ad that I need to be protected by it from Fox News?’ ”

— This story has been updated to reflect that Fox News rejected an earlier version of the advertisement. Updated Feb. 16, 8:25 a.m.