US President Donald Trump’s supporters are accusing CNN of censorship for not airing an advertisement touting his accomplishments. The network said Tuesday it had rejected the ad because it was “false.”
The ad from Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign — he became a declared candidate on Jan. 19 — says, “America has rarely seen such success” and lists a series of actions from the first 100 days of his presidency.
“You wouldn’t know it from watching the news. America is winning, and President Trump is making America great again,” the ad says.
The faces of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CBS’ Scott Pelley are shown behind the phrase “fake news.”
CNN said it requested the campaign remove the “false graphic.”
“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 tweeted in response.
Michael Glassner, executive director of Trump’s campaign, said, “CNN is trying to silence our voice and censor our free speech” because it doesn’t fit the network’s narrative.
The campaign is refusing to change its ad, which is running on Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network. Trump’s team is spending $1.5 million to spread its message.
One of Trump’s campaign committees quickly dispatched a fundraising pitch tied to the ad flap. “Your support made it all possible,” the email says before asking for contributions. “But the FAKE NEWS MEDIA refuses to tell the truth about our many achievements.”
CNN has been a frequent target of Trump’s criticism during the campaign and his young presidency. In tweets, he has called CNN “fake news” and “unwatchable.”
Criticizing media coverage was in the Republican campaign playbook long before Trump emerged.
Separately, the campaign changed another ad to remove an image of H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, wearing his army uniform as he shook hands with Trump after accepting the job.
Although not illegal, the Department of Defense strongly discourages the use of active-duty members of the military in political advertising.