CNN Rejects Another Donald Trump Campaign Ad For Making Inaccurate “Coup” Claim

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UPDATE, 1:30 p.m. PT: CNN has rejected another ad from President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign for president that targets the whistleblower complaint and the impeachment inquiry.

The spot, “Coup,” attacked the whistleblower process as a “coup.” It features a clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Fox News claiming that the complaint is based on a hearsay and that it is a “set up.” “It’s nothing short of a coup and it must be stopped,” a narrator says.

“Our company accepts political and advocacy advertising across the political spectrum,” a company spokesperson said.  “Advertisers must substantiate all factual claims made in their ads. We cannot accept this ad as it contains statements of fact that are not true.”

The ad also had been targeted to air on Turner Sports, which also is rejecting it.

The spokesperson said that the ad “contains assertions of fact about the whistleblower complaint that have been refuted by the Intelligence Inspector General. In addition, it is inaccurate to use the word ‘coup’ to describe a constitutionally prescribed legal process.”

The spokesperson said that they did accept an ad from Trump called “Changing Things” that was accepted because “it meets our commercial clearance standards.”

Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s campaign is urging Fox News to follow CNN in rejecting a Trump campaign ad, “Biden Corruption,” arguing that it “states falsely that Vice President Biden offered Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating a company affiliated with his son.”

“The allegation of corrupt motive has been demonstrated to be completely false,” Campaign Manager Greg Schultz wrote in a letter to Fox News General Counsel Lily Chaffee.

“Though the Trump campaign is prepared to fabricate outright lies, you station’s airwaves should not be used to disseminate them. We are putting you on notice about the absolute falsity of the ad’s claims, and we expect that you will reject it.”

Schultz also wrote that it the network does permit the ad, “you are acting with the understanding that the Trump campaign is using your facilities to mislead your viewers.”

Schultz attached news stories that have debunked the claims made against Biden.

A Fox News spokesperson said, “We are not in the business of censoring ads from candidates on either side of the aisle. Vice President Joe Biden has a standing invitation to appear on any of our platforms.” The network did accept an ad that ran as part of Democrat Tom Steyer’s Need to Impeach campaign.

On Sunday. Biden’s campaign sent a letter to the chiefs of the major networks, asking them to stop booking Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for making an array of claims, including the one that is the source of the ad.

EARLIER, 9:56 a.m. PT: CNN is refusing to air an ad from President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign that pushed debunked claims about Joe Biden and Ukraine and bashed some of the network’s personalities, including Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Jim Acosta.

“CNN is rejecting the ad, as it does not meet our advertising standards,” a network spokeswoman said. “Specifically, in addition to disparaging CNN and its journalists, the ad makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets, including CNN.”

In the ad, called “Biden Corruption,” a narrator says, “Joe Biden promised Ukraine a billion dollars if they fire the prosecutor investigating his son’s company.”

But Biden had criticized the prosecutor at the center of the claim, Victor Shokin, for not doing enough to fight corruption in the country, and other international leaders and organizations also were calling for the prosecutor to be removed.

The Trump ad also refers to the CNN personalities, as well as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, as “media lapdogs” who fall in line behind the Democrats.

Trump’s campaign slammed CNN’s decision to not air the ad. Spokesman Tim Murtaugh told The Daily Beast that the network “spends all day protecting Joe Biden in their programming, so it’s not surprising that they’re shielding him from truthful advertising too, and then talking to other media outlets about it.”

Biden’s campaign also seized on the decision to pull the ad by sending out a Daily Beast news story.

It’s a pretty common tactic for campaigns to try to use a network’s rejection of a campaign ad to their benefit. For the Trump campaign, this generates publicity around the ad itself, providing free media exposure. For the Biden campaign, it gives credence to its arguments that Trump’s accusations are bogus.

The ad is part of a $10 million blitz that the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee say they are spending to push back against the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. The spots are being run on TV and social media, including Facebook.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, said last week that politicians would be generally exempt from their fact-checking program.

“We don’t believe that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny,” he said in a speech. “That’s why Facebook exempts politicians from our third-party fact-checking program.”

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