CNN sends Trump’s reelection campaign a cease-and-desist letter over ‘deceptive’ and misleading ad

Although President Donald Trump has spent a lot of time bashing CNN and other mainstream media outlets, that hasn’t stopped his reelection campaign from using a CNN clip to promote Trump’s coronavirus response. But WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the campaign — complaining that the ad takes comments from Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Wolf Blitzer of CNN out of context.


During a March 30 conversation on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Gupta and Blitzer credited social distancing measures with saving lives in the United States. But according to WarnerMedia, the ad distorts Gupta and Blitzer’s comments to make it look like they were praising Trump’s China travel ban as a life-saving measure.

In a letter to Tim Murtaugh (communications director for Trump’s reelection campaign),  WarnerMedia Associate General Counsel Rick D. McMurtry asserted, “The advertisement 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 when, in fact, Mr. Blitzer and Dr. Gupta were discussing recently implemented social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders issued by state and local governments. 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.”

According to McMurtry, CNN would be willing to accept the ad if Trump’s campaign edited out the misleading part — which it has refused to do.

“CNN was willing to accept the advertisement if the misuse had been corrected,” McMurtry asserted. “Despite this notice, you refused to correct the advertisement and knowingly proceeded with distributing the advertisement as is with the misleading claim.”