Last Thursday, President Trump tweeted a racist campaign ad and pinned it to the top of his Twitter profile. Aimed at drumming up fear over the migrant caravan, the spot features a Mexican man named Luis Bracamontes bragging about how he murdered two police officers, as well as imagery of various mobs storming various gates. On Monday, several media organizations released statements noting that they will no longer run the ad. One of those organizations is Fox News. “Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” Marianne Gambelli, the networks’ president of advertisement sales, told CNN.
Trump responded by lazily pointing a finger in the direction of the media.
Trump seemed irked by questions about the immigration ad. He said he didn't know about it being pulled. Then later: "A lot of things are offensive, your questions are offensive a lot of times."
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) November 5, 2018
The statement from Fox News came shortly after NBC said it would cease airing the ad due to its “insensitive nature.” The network had been criticized for airing it during the previous night’s episode of Sunday Night Football, the highest-rated program on television. Twenty-one million Americans tuned in see the New England Patriots play the Green Bay Packers and, presumably, the ad, which in addition to being racist, contains factual errors regarding the Democrats and illegal immigration. George W. Bush was president when Bracamontes entered the United States for the last time, and it was “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio who released Bracamontes from prison in 1998 “for reasons unknown.” (You might remember Arpaio has the recipient of a Trump pardon.) The ad blames Democrats, implying that they have encouraged illegal immigration.
Soon after Fox News announced it would no longer run the ad, Facebook did the same. “This ad violates Facebook’s advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution.”
Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale wasn’t happy. Though Fox News announced it would be pulling the ad before Facebook, Parscale for some reason neglected to mention the network in his tweet about how those who refuse to air the ad are standing “with those ILLEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY” and want to “control what you see and how you think.”
So, @NBCNews @CNN @facebook have chosen to stand with those ILLEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY. Instead of standing with LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and those that follow our laws. The #FakeNewsMedia and #PaloAltoMafia are trying to control what you see and how you think. STOP THE CARAVAN!
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) November 5, 2018
Parscale also mentions CNN, which from the outset refused to broadcast the ad. “I guess they only run fake news and won’t talk about real threats that don’t suit their agenda,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted on Saturday regarding the network’s decision. “Enjoy. Remember this on Tuesday.”
CNN refused to run this ad because it is explicitly racist, per @CNNPR.
And as a company we don't support racism or take money to amplify it. pic.twitter.com/I99CyZx3C1
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) November 3, 2018
“CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist,” the network’s communications team responded on Twitter. “When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined. Those are the facts.”
We’re still waiting for Parscale and Don Jr. to condemn Fox News for pulling the ad, although that isn’t likely to happen any time soon. Fox News may deserve commendation for removing the ad from its programming, but the network remains a fierce enabler of Trump’s bigotry. Its shows have continued to push a host of unfounded conspiracy theories regarding the migrant caravan, and were similarly eager to bash birthright citizenship, which is protected by the Constitution, after Trump said last week that he planned to revoke it with an executive order.
On Monday night, Trump will undoubtedly spout a fresh torrent of racist rhetoric at his final rally before the midterms on Tuesday. According to a Trump campaign press release, Fox News host Sean Hannity will be a “special guest” when the president takes the stage in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.