Donald Trump’s re-election campaign continues to get gobs of free publicity by refusing to remove from its 30-second ad a graphic in which headshots of journalists from CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN are plastered with the words “FAKE NEWS” in big red letters, then getting undie bunched when those networks say the graphic needs to go before they’ll run the spot.
The Trump campaign’s weeklong chest-thumpery now is being spearheaded by Eric Trump’s wife, Lara, who is billed as a campaign consultant and took her outrage to Friend of Trump Sean Hannity on Thursday night, calling it a “chilling precedent against free speech.”
Hannity, in one of those incredible coincidences that makes covering TV so fascinating, is seen on Fox News Channel — the only network missing a headshot from that “fake news” graphic. During his primetime opinion-not-news program, Hannity ran the ad in its entirety. Fox News Channel also has run the ad during at least one ad break this week.
In a statement, Lara Trump has complained “the mainstream media are champions of the First Amendment only when it serves their own political views.”
“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, who, like Bill O’Reilly, formerly was in the employ of the King World/CBS TV Distribution syndicated series Inside Edition. “This is an unprecedented act of censorship in America that should concern every freedom-loving citizen.”
By “biased narrative” she means the networks are not in perfect agreement with the Trump campaign that they are fake news.
NBCUniversal, for example said: “Consistent with our policies, we have agreed to accept the ad if the inaccurate graphic – which refers to journalists as ‘fake news’ – is corrected.”
CNN has said: “CNN requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that the mainstream media is ‘fake news.’ 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.”
ABC reminded Mrs. Trump that it previously has accepted Trump ads and says it is open to continuing to do so, correcting her narrative. ABC said of this particular ad, “We rejected the ad because it did not meet our guidelines.”
CBS declined comment.