200,000 signatures reached
To: CNN and other national news media
CNN: Stop Giving Trump Free Airtime!
Donald Trump knows how to manipulate the media into covering his speeches live and doing exclusive events—giving him valuable free airtime to spew vitriol, lies, and dangerous disinformation. News networks need to stop showing his speeches live.
Why is this important?
When Donald Trump announced he was running for president again. we saw that the news media learned nothing from the last go-round about how to avoid his toxic manipulations. CNN covered his speech live—essentially giving him free rein to dominate airwaves and reach viewers with his narcissistic brand of conspiracy theories and abuse.
And he doesn't have to pay a dime for all this free advertising.
The night Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago after turning himself in on criminal charges, CNN ran Trump's speech live for 23 minutes of the 24-minute speech. The speech, which was supposedly a response to his arraignment, was actually a campaign rally, full of his usual attacks, lies, and bluster. Meanwhile, MSNBC, NPR, and other mainstream media networks refused to air the speech.
All news networks have a responsibility to fact-check Trump's lies, provide context and journalistic skepticism to his claims, and apply an editorial lens to when to give him airtime.
In 2016, it was estimated that the major news networks gave Trump $2 billion in free airtime. [https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html] We can't make that mistake again.
News networks don't need to show his speeches live. They can cover them as news—wait until he's done, show clips within context, offer fact-checking, and stop amplifying his abusive attacks, bigoted insults, QAnon-level conspiracies, and dangerous deceptions.
Trump sought to overturn and election and helped incite a deadly insurrection. We know his words carry weight. You can cover him as news—but don't serve as his personal broadcasting network.
Stop covering him live. Fact-check his statements. And don't fall into the trap of giving him free airtime.