The term "Streisand effect" was coined in 2003 when the entertainment icon Barbra Streisand sued a photographer for taking an aerial photo of her home. The photo was one of 12,000 in the collection, and hardly anyone would have seen it had the publicity from the $50 million lawsuit not magnified it.
Hence, the Streisand effect describes when the attempt to hide something only ends up publicizing it more.
In an effort to stop a damning new ad from continuing to air, President Donald Trump's reelection campaign may have created a Streisand effect of its own.
Exponential Threat—the ad from Democratic super PAC Priorities USA—highlights Trump's dismissals of the current public health crisis that's since upended daily life in the United States.
Trump refused to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously, now he won’t take responsibility as his administrati… https://t.co/8TwEq50RQp— Priorities USA (@Priorities USA) 1584997080.0
The ad plays Trump's repeated hollow assurances that the virus would eventually disappear and that cases in the United States would be down to zero in just a few days. All the while, a graph shows the number of confirmed cases in the United States continue to climb.
The President has frequently indicated that he's more concerned about the pandemic's effect on his election, rather than its toll on human lives.
Nevertheless, the Trump campaign threatened litigation in a cease and desist order issued against Priorities USA, writing:
"We will not stand idly by and allow you to broadcast false, deceptive, and misleading information concerning President's Trump's healthcare positions without consequence."
But with thousands of retweets, the attempt to suppress the ad only backfired.
People made sure the message was spread far and wide.
The trump campaign sent a cease and desist letter to Priorities USA for this ad. So I’m retweeting it. https://t.co/0Q1QO9TeQT— Adam Parkhomenko (@Adam Parkhomenko) 1585180846.0
Donald Trump is so desperate to keep you from seeing this ad that his campaign sent a cease and desist letter to te… https://t.co/rhnTm7x1cJ— Andrew Weinstein (@Andrew Weinstein) 1585184301.0
The Trump campaign just issued a cease-and-desist order in an attempt to stop this ad about @realDonaldTrump’s tota… https://t.co/pQg5Cqze7w— Dr. Dena Grayson (@Dr. Dena Grayson) 1585217953.0
The Trump campaign seriously just issued a cease and desist for this ad so I'm doing my part and sharing it as wide… https://t.co/tSH2rWjieC— Fred Guttenberg (@Fred Guttenberg) 1585183694.0
Retweeting this because the authoritarian sent a cease and desist to TV stations to stop airing this factual ad. https://t.co/U4d2VKcTfy— Olga Lautman (@Olga Lautman) 1585185049.0
Does Trump not realize the ad uses his own words?
Why should it be blocked? It’s his words. #truthhurts https://t.co/e7nQubF6ho— Lorraine Devon Wilke (@Lorraine Devon Wilke) 1585198892.0
Why would @realDonaldTrump have a problem with this ad? Does he not stand by his own words? https://t.co/pYHQWbbNFS— Michael Slezak (@Michael Slezak) 1585188941.0
In his own words out of his own mouth:::: https://t.co/63Cp7sjRW7— Katja Herbers (@Katja Herbers) 1585191379.0
A brilliant ad. Simply his own statements. https://t.co/7ojS2dBRfD— Larry R. Kaiser, MD (@Larry R. Kaiser, MD) 1585220187.0
The ad concludes with Trump's response to a reporter who asked if he took responsibility for his administration's bungled rollout of testing kits for the virus:
"I don't take responsibility at all."
If you'd like to see Trump's presidency cease and desist in January 2021, make sure you're registered to vote in November.
For a deeper look into Trump's incompetence from people who were there, check out A Very Stable Genius, available here.