Hadas Gold at Politico reports CNN refused to accept an ad from the Trump for President campaign unless they remove a “fake news” graphic over the faces of liberal media stars.
After listing several accomplishments, from Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch to approving the Keystone pipeline, the ad’s narrator charges “You wouldn’t know it from watching the news,” with the words FAKE NEWS over images of Andrea Mitchell, Wolf Blitzer, Rachel Maddow, George Stephanopoulos and Scott Pelley:
“CNN requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that the mainstream media is ‘fake news,'” a CNN spokesperson said. “The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false and per policy will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted,” CNN said in a statement.
How ironic that news of this decision breaks as CNN had just offered 40 minutes of fluffy interview time to Trump’s unsuccessful opponent, Hillary Clinton...which made it sound tinny when CNN president Jeff Zucker accused Fox News in a recent New Yorker podcast of being “state-run TV.”
Zucker also denounced the term "fake news" in that podcast: "I think its an unfortunate phrase....I think we should all try to avoid it."
Team Trump denounced the move as censorship. Michael Glassner, executive director of Trump’s campaign committee. “It’s clear that CNN is trying to silence our voice and censor our free speech because it doesn’t fit their narrative.”
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel put out a statement as well: “Freedom of speech is a hallmark of our nation's founding, and it is concerning that CNN, who I assume to be a strong supporter of the first amendment, would stifle speech that they disagree with. CNN should allow the ad to be aired and apologize for their attempt to block the President's message."
This is a fun spin, as CNN host Brian Stelter insisted on Saturday night that Trump "really needs" to wear a First Amendment pin and honor the Trump-hating media. In his nightly newsletter on Monday, Stelter fussed: "This is not a 'First Amendment' issue, no matter how loudly Trump's allies say it is. But cynically creating a "controversy" about the ad stirs up contempt of the media, in this case CNN, which may accrue to Trump's benefit." [Emphasis in the original.]
Conservatives believe that a private company has a right to refuse to run ads they feel are false or defamatory – but clearly this ad cuts too close to the kind of media critique they despise, that they’re “fake news.” It reminds us of CBS refusing to accept ads for the fake-news Dan Rather movie Truth.
If President Hillary had wanted to run an ad touting 100 days of achievements, CNN would never have refused it. But then, Hillary wouldn’t have denounced the liberal media in that ad. Or perhaps CNN would just say “Don’t pay good money for an ad. We’ll give you an hour of free air time with Christiane Amanpour....just as we used to give you a free hour of softballs with Larry King.”
There’s a long-standing reason why CNN's been called the “Clinton News Network.”