CNN is refusing to air an ad from President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign that pushed 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.”
The ad 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 him to be removed. The ad also refers the CNN personalities and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow as “media lapdogs” who fall in line behind the Democrats.
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Trump’s campaign slammed the 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, potentially giving it additional free media exposure. For the Biden campaign, it gives credence to their 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 that they are spending to push back against the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. The spots are being run on TV and on 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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