Lara, an adviser on Trump’s 2020 campaign, called the rejection a “chilling precedent against free speech rights.”
“All of the mainstream media television networks have decided to block the paid placement of a campaign ad that celebrates the achievements of President Trump in his first 100 days in office,” Lara wrote in a post Friday on DonaldJTrump.com, which is not an official government website. “Apparently, the mainstream media are champions of the First Amendment only when it serves their own political views. Faced with an ad that doesn’t fit their biased narrative, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC have now all chosen to block our ad. This is an unprecedented act of censorship in America that should concern every freedom-loving citizen.”
Lara appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Thursday night to promote the campaign. “There are certain networks, the majority of the mainstream media throughout the country that refuse to report the facts,” she told host Sean Hannity. “It’s a great ad and it highlights all the wonderful things that have happened that you don’t hear about everyday because some people don’t watch Fox News. If you don’t watch Fox, you probably aren’t hearing all the great things the president has done.”
President Trump regularly re-tweets Fox News and praises the network, while labeling others — notably CNN — as “fake news.” The term “fake news” appears briefly in the paid ad that the other networks have refused to air.
“CNN requested that the advertiser remove the false graphic that the mainstream media is ‘fake news,'” CNN said in a statement on Tuesday explaining their decision to not run the ad. “The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false and per policy will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted.”
President Trump’s contentious relationship with the mainstream press has included banning CNN and publishers like the New York Times and Politico from White House briefings. His surrogates often appear on news shows offering conflicting commentary. One surrogate — Kellyanne Conway — used the term “alternative facts” while trying to defend false information put out by the Trump administration about the inauguration crowd size.
Earlier this week, President Trump cut short an interview with CBS when asked to explain claims he made that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower — assertions without any factual evidence.