The campaign that turned the phrase "Fake News" into a rallying cry against accountability is now in hot water for some fake news of its own.
President Donald Trump's reelection campaign recently released an ad that deliberately misleads viewers regarding Trump's response to the virus that's killed nearly 70 thousand Americans and upended daily life in the United States.
Trump initially dismissed the virus as little more than a flu, assuring it would miraculously disappear. He refused to issue a nationwide stay at home order and revealed a complete lack of preparation for the pandemic in regards to medical and protective equipment.
All of that is acceptable, the President wants us to believe, because he issued travel restrictions against Chinese nationals before there was an expansive number of cases. Over 400,000 people traveled from China to the United States after he instituted the so-called ban. Scientists later discovered that most virus contractions were transmitted from people traveling from Europe, where Trump didn't institute travel restrictions until March, when there were already over a thousand cases in the United States.
The Trump campaign takes every opportunity, however, to remind people of the China travel restrictions and—in the new campaign ad titled American Comeback—the campaign misleadingly edits words from CNN's Wolf Blitzer to make it look like Blitzer is praising the move.
NEW AD 📺 Under President @realDonaldTrump, the United States is writing the greatest comeback story in history! T… https://t.co/XS3rTONBHC— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022))1588547047.0
The ad shows Blitzer asking if "these steps had not been put in place, it could have been 2 million people dead here in the United States?"
Blitzer's guest, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appears to say "Yes."
The problem? None of it is true.
The actual exchange was:
Blitzer: "Well, is it accurate that if these steps had not been put in place, the stay at home orders, the social distancing orders, as the President said yesterday, it could have been 2 million people down here in the United States?"
Gupta: "I mean, you know, these are all models, Wolf. It's a little tough to say, but, you know, if you talk about something that is spreading, you know, very robustly throughout a community. You know, two to three times more contagious than flu, and up to 10 times, perhaps even more than that, more deadly than flu, then yes."
Blitzer was talking about the stay-at-home orders which were instituted by governors with considerable criticism from the Trump administration.
CNN wasn't having any of it, with the network's counsel issuing a cease and desist order which said:
"CNN hereby demands that you discontinue airing the advertisement with the CNN clip that has been distorted in such a way as to mislead the public."
Others agreed that, like many talking points in favor of Trump's reelection, it was deliberately misleading.
Trump's ad takes a CNN clip and dices it up. It makes it sound like Dr. Gupta is attributing the projected death to… https://t.co/4rKl37kT5S— Dave Wolber (@Dave Wolber)1588655310.0
“False, misleading, & deceptive” - in other words, totally on brand for the Trump regime... https://t.co/t2qzW4d3yY— Laloofah Ⓥ 🙏STAY🏡🚫🦠 (@Laloofah Ⓥ 🙏STAY🏡🚫🦠)1588690069.0
I did not realize Gupta was referring to stay at home orders, not the China travel ban, in this ad. It is indeed ex… https://t.co/QdOjihMIlc— Yolo Contendere (@Yolo Contendere)1588650591.0
This is easy to grasp: if you're compelled to doctor news footage in an ad to promote your candidate, he's in BIG t… https://t.co/ldCUIoSg8X— Bill Carter (@Bill Carter)1588655712.0
According to the Trump campaign, CNN is the most notorious network for so-called "fake news," so people found it ironic that the Trump campaign was using the network's clips to create actual fake news.
Ironic #45 misuses “fake” CNN to create false information. 🤦♀️🤦♀️ https://t.co/h1bE3mFhU0— Joyce Johnston (@Joyce Johnston)1588680539.0
@POTUS is literally creating fake news. The irony. 🙄 https://t.co/lSvOmZ8fkg— American Social Distancing (@American Social Distancing)1588651462.0
Does this CNN coverage, that is used by Trump's re-election campaign in a misused and misleading way, lead to Fake… https://t.co/M4DofMubWk— Ingo Muntenaar (@Ingo Muntenaar)1588668150.0
For a deeper look into Trump's war on truth, check out A Very Stable Genius, available here.