Trump Campaign Sues TV Station Over “Hoax” Ad

Via press release from the Trump campaign:

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. today filed a lawsuit against WJFW-NBC of Rhinelander, WI for defamation in the wake of an advertisement carried by the station that contained intentionally false and defamatory statements about President Trump.

The ad produced by Priorities USA, a super PAC supporting Joe Biden’s candidacy, and broadcast by WJFW-NBC, used digitally manipulated clips of President Trump’s voice to fabricate unsubstantiated meaning in the President’s words.

The suit, filed in Price County, WI circuit court, followed a cease-and-desist letter and supporting documentation sent on March 25, 2020. In spite of the letter and documentation, WJFW-NBC continued to run the defamatory ad.

The Priorities USA ad took different audio clips from President Trump and spliced them together, deceptively manipulating them into an entirely new sentence and adding misleading subtitles to create a statement the President never uttered: “The coronavirus, this is their new hoax.”

As is clear from his full remarks, President Trump was referring to the Democrats’ politicization of the coronavirus crisis and likening it to their reaction to the Mueller Russia hoax and the sham impeachment. He has never said that the virus itself was a hoax.

NBC News reports:

Priorities USA is standing by its ad, arguing Trump was using the word “hoax” to downplay the virus and shift the blame for the outbreak away from his administration.

“Our ad uses a series of Trump’s own words to show that he downplayed the threat of the pandemic even as the infection spread,” Josh Schwerin, a strategist for Priorities USA, told The Hill earlier this month.

“We stand by the facts in the ad, and every TV station has agreed that the Trump campaign’s complaints fall flat. Holding our elected officials accountable is critical when they are falling down on the job, and we will continue to do that.”