By Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director
CNN’s refusal to air a Donald Trump campaign commercial (can you believe it already) on the grounds that it contained a false graphic was absolutely correct and justifiable. And despite what the Trump folks claim, the decision didn’t represent “censorship.”
The network objected to the use of a graphic in the spot which showed the pictures of several network news people with the words FAKE NEWS splashed across their photos. A CNN spokesperson said if the Trump campaign would remove the graphic, the ad could air. The Trump people refused to do so.
In a Tweet, CNN’s public relations department said, “CNN requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that says the mainstream media is ‘fake news’. “The mainstream media is not fake news,” CNN went on to say, so therefore, “per our policy, it will accepted only if that graphic is deleted.”
Trump campaign Executive Director Michael Glassner responded in a statement, “By rejecting our ad, CNN has proven that it supports censorship…” He added, “President Trump’s loyal supporters know the truth: the mainstream media mislead, misguide, deceive and distract.”
This latest dust-up is par for the course for this administration! We have no reasonable belief that the President will ever back down from these specious claims about American journalism. In fact, it would surprise no one that Mr. Trump and company will ramp them up as time goes on.
So, when possible, the best solution may be to avoid giving him a platform upon which to make these unfounded charges. In this case, that’s what CNN did—despite the loss of revenue from an ad that did not run.
But some things are more important than money. Honesty, truth and accuracy are values which don’t carry a price tag and RTDNA applauds the network for standing up for them.
You’ll be reading and hearing more in the days and weeks ahead about how RTDNA will be increasing its efforts to combat these accusations and the misperceptions they create through the work of our newly-formed Voice of the First Amendment Task Force. VOFA will be Priority One for your association because, as we see it, nothing is more important for journalism and for this country than defending the rights of all Americans to have access to accurate, fair and unbiased reporting.
After all, it’s those values that have truly made America great!