CNN’s Brian Stelter was outraged by the programming decision of ABC stations which aired an “ugly” ad with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Apparently missing the irony, the liberal CNN media pundit called out the outlets for airing the “inappropriate” ad and giving a political group the media attention they were after during an appearance on “Out Front with Erin Burnett” on Friday.
The ad from a Republican SuperPAC aired during Thursday’s Democratic primary debate and began with a photo of Ocasio-Cortez on fire. The photo burns away to reveal an image of the millions of people in Cambodia who died under socialism.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 13, 2019
“A Republican SuperPAC is trying to call attention to what they say are the dangers of socialism and, once again, lifting up Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez like she is the biggest person in the Democratic Party and not a freshman lawmaker with relatively limited power,” Stelter said Friday, speaking with CNN host Erin Burnett.
Stelter took a jab at Fox News, condemning the ABC stations for following the cable network’s “playbook” in attacking the New York congresswoman and other freshman Democrats.
“This is the same playbook that Fox News uses every single day, trying to demonize the Democratic women of color who are part of this new Congress. And we’re seeing that in ads and we’re seeing that in news coverage and right-wing media every day,” Stelter said.
Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to condemn the ad on Thursday.
“Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren’t racist. Life is weird!” she tweeted. “Know that this wasn’t an ad for young conservatives of color – that was the pretense. What you just watched was a love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist case.”
Know that this wasn’t an ad for young conservatives of color – that was the pretense.
What you just watched was a love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist case. https://t.co/zvp1EB02c5
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 13, 2019
“This ad is especially ugly, however,” Stelter told Burnett.
“Just when you think political ads can’t get worse, you see the ads’ ad-makers come and take it a step further,” he added. “I’m sure they’ll say it’s mutually-assured destruction, that Democrats will come out with a worse ad next time. But to see a Democratic lawmaker’s face burning up… absolutely inappropriate.”
Burnett asked her colleague how the ad even made it to air as Stelter pointed out that it played in a handful of key markets including Washington, D.C. and New York.
“They wanted media attention. The SuperPac wanted attention in order to gain the coverage,” he said, adding that it was “smart” for CNN not to show the full ad to give them the attention they were seeking.
Stelter added that the local ABC-owned stations should not have been allowed to air the ad as there must have been a process that would have flagged it. The CNN commentator noted that he has yet to hear back from ABC with a response to his questions.
“How did this ad get past your approval process?” Stelter said he asked. “Ads are rejected all the time for being too insensitive or too inappropriate for all sorts of reasons. This got there. There might be some regret today at ABC. They are not admitting that.”
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