CNN released a new 30-second ad Monday morning that appeared to respond to the Trump administration’s constant “fake news” attacks and the notion of “alternative facts” without ever mentioning the president’s name.
— CNN (@CNN) October 23, 2017
The ad is a picture of an apple with a voiceover saying that no matter how many times someone calls it a “banana,” it’s not. The news organization posted the ad with the hashtag “#FactsFirst.”
“This is an apple. Some people might try to tell you that it’s a banana,” the voice in the ad said. “They might scream ‘banana, banana, banana’ over and over and over again. They might put BANANA in all caps. You might even start to believe that this is a banana. But it’s not. This is an apple.”
At the end of the ad, “Facts First” appears on the screen and the apple is replaced by a CNN logo.
Even though Trump isn’t mentioned explicitly in the ad, it’s no secret that he has repeatedly accused news media of being “fake” when the stories are even the least bit critical of his administration. Trump repeatedly refers to mainstream media organizations as “FAILING” or other derogatory (and false) terms in all caps in his tweets. Trump has even threatened to have broadcast licenses revoked (which he cannot do) for publishing stories he disagrees with.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017
What’s more, many of Trump’s supporters believe that the media is fake, after hearing their president repeat the statement so many times. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he could not give a “blanket commitment” to not putting journalists in jail for doing their job. Counselor to the President and former campaign spokesperson Kellyanne Conway tried to say that former press secretary Sean Spicer was just giving “alternative facts” when he was caught lying.
As CNN’s ad points out, the Trump administration isn’t just waging a war on the media, but it’s waging a dangerous war on facts and truth. Even GOP lawmakers know that the media is not fake, and independent fact checkers have overwhelmingly sided with the news mediaover Trump’s claims. By demonizing the media for negative but accurate coverage, the Trump administration is attempting to redefine facts in a way that undermines American democracy and dangerously establishes President Trump alone as the arbiter of truth.