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CNN refuses Trump campaign's 'fake news' ad

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, speaks before the screening of First Lady Michelle Obama's new CNN Film, We Will Rise: Michelle Obamas Mission to Educate Girls Around the World on October 11, 2016.
Cheriss May | NurPhoto | Getty Images
CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, speaks before the screening of First Lady Michelle Obama's new CNN Film, We Will Rise: Michelle Obamas Mission to Educate Girls Around the World on October 11, 2016.

The head of President Trump's re-election campaign accused CNN of "censorship" on Tuesday afternoon after the broadcast network refused to run the group's latest advertisement.

CNN said it would run the 30-second television spot, a celebration of Mr. Trump's first 100 days in office, only if the campaign removed a section that featured the words "fake news" superimposed over several TV journalists, including Wolf Blitzer of CNN, and others from MSNBC, PBS, ABC and CBS.

CNN defended the decision in a statement on Twitter.

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"The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false," the network said. "Per our policy, it will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted."

In response, Michael Glassner, the executive director of Mr. Trump's campaign committee, called the decision "censorship pure and simple."

"By rejecting our ad, CNN has proven that it supports censorship is biased and fears an opposing point of view," Mr. Glassner said in a statement. "President Trump's loyal supporters know the truth: The mainstream media mislead, misguide, deceive, and distract."

In the advertisement, a narrator claims that "America has rarely seen such success," before listing several purported achievements from Mr. Trump's first 100 days in office.

"You wouldn't know it from watching the news," he says, before the words "fake news" are briefly displayed.

Kyle Pope, the editor and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, said news organizations often set standards both in the advertisements they choose to air or publish and in what they cover.

"It's totally within their rights to set ground rules with how they deal with this administration," he said of CNN.

Mr. Pope also noted that the "fake news" allegation rings hollow given Mr. Trump's frequent interviews with the very organizations he derides as "fake."

"It's telling here that this is in a political ad by the political campaign because it's increasingly clear that this 'fake news' mantra is a political maneuver more than anything," he said.