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CNN refuses to run pro-Trump ad warning of Biden tax hikes on middle class Americans

"That claim is not adequately substantiated and has been judged false by independent fact-checkers" - Warner Media.

CNN's Jake Tapper
CNN's Jake Tapper
(Gary Miller/FilmMagic)
Updated: October 29, 2020 - 7:42am

CNN has told a group supporting President Trump's reelection bid that it will not run one of its new ads.

The cable network believes the ad is false because it claims that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will raise taxes on the middle class and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will support socialist policies. 

The ad, created by America First Action, claims that Biden "sided with socialists," as photographs of Pelosi and Rep.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  (D-N.Y.) are displayed on screen. 

The ad's narrator says that a Biden agenda "will cost millions of jobs."

America First Action says the ad has been approved and will run on ABC, AMC, The Cooking Channel, CBS, Comcast, DIY, The Discovery Channel, ESPN, The Food Network, Fox, HGTV, The History Channel, Lifetime, and The Weather Channel. However, Warner Media, the parent company of CNN and TNT, rejected the ad, citing a failure to "meet its commercial clearance standards." 

"Specifically, the ad asserts that Biden will raise taxes on the middle class. That claim is not adequately substantiated and has been judged false by independent fact-checkers. The advertisement also mischaracterizes Nancy Pelosi as a socialist," read an email from an account executive at Warner Media, which owns CNN, about the the company's decision to reject the ad.

An attorney representing America First Action wrote a letter to Warner Media's legal team contesting the company's rejection of the ad. 

“While AFA’s opponents are, of course, permitted to purchase air time to try to rebut AFA’s claims, it is not the job of your network to censor a statement that is factually supported and relates to an important issue in the upcoming election," wrote Stephen Kenny, of the firm Jones Day.

Biden has said he will repeal Trump's tax cuts in a way that will only raise the taxes of individuals earning more than $400,000 annually. The president and Republicans say that should Democrats gain control of the White House in addition to Congress, they will raise taxes on all Americans. 

Kenny's letter addresses analyses done by several institutions that claim even if Biden only raises taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans, middle-class workers will have to stomach indirect costs associated with those tax hikes.

He further argues that the term "socialist" to describe Pelosi is "often used in political discourse to signify generally a set of left-leaning political positions."

"Pelosi favors tuition-free community college, universal subsidized child care, and universal health care. The ad does not imply she advocates for a more aggressive strain of 'socialism' whereby the government controls all means of production," writes Kenny. 

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