Fox News has rejected an attempt by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to control their airwaves.
The network repudiated the former vice president’s demand to reject a new Trump 2020 campaign ad because of the “absolute falsity” of claims suggesting the Ukraine government was strong-armed into pushing out a prosecutor investigating corruption in a company that employed Hunter Biden.
Biden’s presidential campaign put Fox News “on notice” about airing the ad which they claimed “spreads false, definitively debunked conspiracy theories,” Politico reported.
The ad “falsely states” that “Biden offered Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating a company affiliated with his son,” Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz wrote in a letter to Fox News and Fox Business general counsel Lily Claffee.
“Though the Trump campaign is prepared to fabricate outright lies, your station’s airwaves should not be used to disseminate them,” Schultz wrote.
“We are putting you on notice about the absolute falsity of the advertisement’s claims, and we expect that you will reject it,” he added. “Please consider this letter a standing request that you reject any advertisement containing similar claims, regardless whether the Trump campaign or a third-party group seeks to place it.”
“If, however, you do permit this or any similar advertisement to run, you are acting with the understanding that the Trump campaign is using your facilities to mislead your viewers,” Schultz wrote.
But the network was clear about not taking direction from the Democratic candidate, who just days before had asked networks to ban appearances by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
“We are not in the business of censoring ads from candidates on either side of the aisle,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement. “Vice President Joe Biden has a standing invitation to appear on any of our platforms.”
Trump’s critics have repeatedly slammed the criticism of Biden and his alleged intervention in Ukraine on behalf of his son. But the former vice president himself admitted last year that he strong-armed then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 when he was serving as vice president, recounting how he threatened that the administration would pull U.S. aid if Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was not immediately fired. Shokin, at the time, was conducting a corruption probe of the natural gas company that employed Biden’s son.
While Fox News renounced the Biden campaign’s attempt to dictate its advertising choices, CNN was more in step with rejecting the “Biden Corruption” ad, claiming it did not meet their “advertising standards.”
“CNN is rejecting the ad, as it does not meet our advertising standards,” a network spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “Specifically, in addition to disparaging CNN and its journalists, the ad makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets, including CNN.”
The network rejected a Trump campaign ad in August 2017 as well which had called out CNN’s Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper.
The new 30-second Trump ad not only targets Biden, but it also takes aim at “media lapdogs” such as CNN’s Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Jim Acosta, and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company,” the narrator said in the video ad.
“But when President Trump asks Ukraine to investigate corruption, the Democrats want to impeach him,” the ad went on as footage of House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared. “And their media lapdogs fall in line.”
I AM DRAINING THE SWAMP! pic.twitter.com/U7WxKrO6Kx
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2019
Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh reacted to CNN’s decision in a statement.
“CNN spends all day protecting Joe Biden in their programming, so it’s not surprising that they’re shielding him from truthful advertising too, and then talking to other media outlets about it,” he said.
“Our ad is entirely accurate and was reviewed by counsel,” he added. “And CNN wouldn’t even describe to us what they found objectionable. This isn’t a cable news channel anymore, it’s a Democrat public relations firm.”
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