Trump Gets Cease-and-Desist Letter From CNN

Campaign accused of distorting network footage in nationwide ad
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2020 10:30 AM CDT
Trump Gets Cease-and-Desist Letter From CNN
President Trump speaks during a Fox News virtual town hall from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

CNN's parent company has sent a cease-and-desist letter to President Trump's reelection campaign, ordering the removal of a new ad using CNN footage in a manner that is "false, misleading, and deceptive." The minute-long ad released Sunday includes a segment from a conversation on a March 30 episode of The Situation Room. "It could've been 2 million people dead here in the United States?" Wolf Blitzer asks Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who responds, "Yes." But Blitzer actually asked if it was accurate to say there might've been 2 million deaths if "stay-at-home orders, the social distancing orders" hadn't been in place. "These are all models ... It's a little tough to say," Gupta replied, per CNN. "If you talk about something that is spreading, you know, very robustly" and is "two to three times more contagious than flu, and up to 10 times, perhaps ... then yes."

Lawyers for WarnerMedia say the footage "has been distorted in such a way as to mislead the public." The ad, dubbed "American Comeback," "purposely and deceptively edits the clip to imply that Mr. Blitzer and Dr. Gupta were crediting the President's travel ban policy issued in January for saving millions of American lives," reads a letter sent to the communications director of Trump's campaign, Tim Murtaugh. Amid the CNN footage is video of a grounded Air China jet and an airport screen showing canceled flights. Murtaugh responded that "the ad is accurate" as "no discussion of efforts to prevent American deaths from the coronavirus can be had without the understanding that President Trump restricted travel from China in January." Mediaite reports the campaign is "planning a week-long, seven-figure buy for the ad to run nationwide." (More President Trump stories.)

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