Broadcast networks and social media platforms have moved to ban the controversial ad, which linked an immigrant caravan to the south of the US to a notorious murderer.
NBC was the first to announce it had shelved the ad, which had been heavily criticised by civil rights organisations and politicians on both sides.
In addition to NBC, Facebook and Fox News have also pulled the Trump immigration ad that was called "racist" by CNN https://t.co/h62JpYuJku
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 5, 2018
NBC deemed the ad “insensitive”
NBC had been airing a 30-second version of that ad, which showed footage of the Central American caravan heading north.
“America cannot allow this invasion,” a narrator states. “The migrant caravan must be stopped. President Trump and his allies will protect our border and keep our families safe.
“Stop the caravan. Vote Republican,” the ad says.
In a statement, NBC said: “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.”
It had already already screened around a dozen times on NBC, including during the flagship programming of Sunday Night Football, which had an audience of 21 million.
NBC spokesperson: "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" https://t.co/IFbhMho1R6
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 5, 2018
Fox News followed NBC in pulling the contentious ad
Soon after, Fox News also refused to air the ad. “Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” Advertising Sales President Marianne Gambelli told CNN in a statement.
On the afternoon of 5 November, Facebook also moved to prohibit the ad being run as paid content.
“This ad violates Facebook’s advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it,” Facebook said in a statement. “While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution.”
Numerous media outlets have found the ad contains inaccuracies. The shorter version of the ad omitted the claim that unnamed Democrats let Luis Bracamontes into the country and allowed him to stay. The Washington Post found that he last entered the US during the George W. Bush administration.
Bracamontes was released after being arrested on drug charges by Joe Arpaio, the self-styled “toughest sheriff in America” and a fervent Trump supporter.
The cop-killer in Trump's twitter video actually came back to the U.S. under George W. Bush, according to The Daily Beast.
Trump also failed to mention that the killer used an AR-15, a weapon that Republicans, including Trump, don't want to outlaw.https://t.co/WRVNz4nrdl
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 1, 2018
Trump to reporters: “Your questions are offensive”
Fox News had reportedly been Trump’s own favourite news channel.
On Twitter, Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 Campaign Manager, railed against CNN, NBC and Facebook for banning the commercial but did not mention Fox News. “The #FakeNewsMedia and #PaloAltoMafia are trying to control what you see and how you think,” he wrote.
Donald Trump Jr. raged at CNN on Twitter for refusing to run the commercial. “I guess they only run fake news and won’t talk about real threats that don’t suit their agenda,” he wrote.
The CNN Communications account shot back, saying they had “made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist.”
CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist. When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined. Those are the facts. 🍎
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 3, 2018
Trump went on the defensive when asked about the ads being pulled. “I don’t know about it,” he said. “I mean, you’re telling me something I don’t know about.
“We have a lot of ads, and they certainly are effective based on the numbers we are seeing.”
When it was suggested to him the ad was offensive, Trump said: “Well, a lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive a lot of the times.”
Trump’s House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly asked Trump to turn his attention to the economy in the day before the US mid-term elections but the President was apparently determined to stick to the hardline immigration rhetoric that has been the defining feature of his campaign.