CNN Refuses to Air Trump Ad With "Fake News" Graphic

Donald J. Trump campaign
The Trump campaign released a 30-second ad deeming mainstream news outlets "fake news."

"Per our policy it will be accepted only if the graphic is deleted. Those are the facts," the network said.

For the most part, Donald Trump's new 30-second ad, touting the first 100 days of his presidency, looks like a typical political TV spot that would run on cable networks during a campaign — except for its attack on the media outlet that would air the clip. 

On Tuesday, CNN said it declined to air a Trump ad because it included false information. Namely, saying mainstream outlets are "fake news." 

"CNN requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that says the mainstream media is 'fake news.' The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false," said the network in a statement. "Per our policy it will be accepted only if the graphic is deleted. Those are the facts." 

The Trump ad includes a photo split of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, CNN's Wolf Blitzer, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos and CBS News' Scott Pelley with ominous red overlay text of "FAKE NEWS" on the anchor's faces. 

“It is absolutely shameful to see the media blocking the positive message that President Trump is trying to share with the country. It's clear that CNN is trying to silence our voice and censor our free speech because it doesn't fit their narrative," said Michael Glassner, Trump campaign executive director, in a statement that the president also promoted to his 22 million Facebook followers.

After his inauguration, Trump and his supporters have co-opted the phrase "fake news" — a term that gained usage last fall over the proliferation of demonstrably fake posts circulating on social media — as a way to discredit investigative journalists covering his administration. 

CNN has been one of the broadcast outlets singled out multiple times by the President for its reporting on the scandals and missteps of his first 100 days in office, including fact-checking his unsubstantiated claims in onscreen chyrons. 

Jeff Zucker, worldwide president at the network, has cast the "fake news" conversation and the cable news landscape in a stark light.

"Certainly in primetime and in the morning, Fox is state-run TV and is extolling the line out of the White House. MSNBC has become the opposition. And, I think, CNN is seeking the truth," Zucker told The New Yorker's editor David Remnick during a recent podcast. 

"I think its an unfortunate phrase," Zucker said of the use of "fake news" as a weaponized political term by the Trump camp. He added: "I think we should all try to avoid it."