President Donald Trump’s campaign took aim at major TV networks Friday for refusing to air a controversial advertisement touting his first 100 days in office, accusing the networks of “setting a chilling precedent against free speech.”
In a Friday statement, the Trump campaign said it had “just learned” that ABC, CBS, and NBC “blocked the ad from running.” Earlier in the week, the campaign blasted CNN for refusing to air the ad.
“Apparently, the mainstream media are champions of the First Amendment only when it serves their own political views,” Lara Trump, a campaign consultant and the wife of the president’s son, Eric, said in the statement. “Faced with an ad that doesn’t fit their biased narrative, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC have now all chosen to block our ad. This is an unprecedented act of censorship in America that should concern every freedom-loving citizen.”
The statement included remarks from Trump’s daughter-in-law on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s Thursday night program.
“It’s a great ad and it highlights all the wonderful things that have happened. … It’s really disappointing. … This is supposed to be a free society,” she said. “We have freedom of speech. The fact that this ad is not being shown on CNN, on NBC, on CBS, on news networks who have a duty to report to the public the facts … is really, really ridiculous to me. It’s really sad.”
The ad, which highlighted Trump’s early accomplishments in office, included a graphic that labelled a series of news anchors, including NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, and CBS’s Scott Pelley, as “fake news.”
CNN, which was first targeted by the Trump campaign on Tuesday, said it did not air the ad because of the “fake news” graphic, which it labelled as “false.”
“CNN requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that says the mainstream media is ‘fake news,'” the network said in a statement. “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.”
Later Tuesday, the Trump campaign issued a subsequent response to CNN’s statement.
“This is censorship pure and simple,” Glassner said. “By rejecting our ad, CNN has proven that it supports censorship is biased and fears an opposing point of view. President Trump’s loyal supporters know the truth: The mainstream media mislead, misguide, deceive, and distract. CNN epitomizes the meaning of fake news and has proven it by rejecting our paid campaign ad.”
Trump has repeatedly lambasted the mainstream media even as he provides extensive and in-depth interview opportunities to many of the same outlets. However, his animosity toward CNN goes unmatched. He has repeatedly labelled the outlet as “fake news” for its critical reporting of his administration. And during his 2016 campaign for president, he called CNN the “Clinton News Network,” in reference to his then-opponent Hillary Clinton.
Earlier in his presidency, Trump labelled ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC, in addition to The New York Times, as “the enemy of the American people” in a tweet.
ABC, NBC, and CBS did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.
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