It’s been called “the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years,” and that assessment wasn’t hyperbolic. As we discussed last week, Donald Trump released a 53-second online video that was so ugly, even some Republicans found the demagoguery tough to defend.
Making matters worse, the video wasn’t just based on racism; it was also based on falsehoods. In this case, the president couldn’t even try to scare people without lying.
In recent days, however, what was a racist and dishonest online video became a racist and dishonest television campaign commercial. Today, networks that aired the ad decided to stop.
NBC and Fox News said on Monday morning that they would no longer air an immigration ad from President Donald Trump that has been widely derided as racially divisive.
“After further review, we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” said Joe Benarroch, a spokesperson for NBC’s advertising sales department.
Facebook also took action on Monday, blocking the ad from getting promoted through the company’s paid distribution network, though it allowed the ad to remain on Trump’s verified Facebook page, where it has been viewed more than one million times.
According to NBC News’ report, citing data from the advertising tracking firm iSpotTV, the ad aired a total of 18 times across multiple networks including Fox News, Fox Business Network, and MSNBC.
Asked this afternoon about the offensiveness of the ad, the president told reporters, “Well, a lot of things are offensive…. Your questions are offensive a lot of times.”
It’s the second time since Friday afternoon in which the president has questioned the propriety of journalists’ questions. Told about polling that showed Americans expressing concern about him encouraging political violence with his over-the-top rhetoric, Trump responded, “No, no. You know what? You’re creating violence by your questions.”
As a rule, American leaders don’t condemn questions from the free press as dangerous and offensive. Authoritarian leaders, however, adopt such a posture all of the time.