Amid an escalating fight with the media, President Donald Trump derided a New York Times advertisement that hasn’t yet aired.
The president's tweet, sent from his personal account before 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, is referring to a 30-second spot slated to air during the Academy Awards show Sunday night. It is the newspaper’s first television ad since 2010, not their first ever as the president suggested. The ad sews together audio-clips of punditry about "the truth" with the eventual conclusion that "the truth is more important now than ever."
The paper said the ad aimed to remind readers how costly reporting the news can be.
Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the publisher of the paper, said in a release published three days ago that "in a world where there is so much uncertainty about what is real and what is fake news, we remain steadfastly committed to a search for the truth.”
"Fake news" is how the president derides journalism he disagrees with, signaling that the Times' campaign may also be a pointed commentary on the president's oft-lambasted relationship with accuracy. After a campaign that racked up PolitiFact's highest number of "false" and "pants on fire" presidential nominee fact checks in more than a decade, Trump's administration has run afoul of the truth repeatedly in their first month in office, and one aide suggested in an interview that the White House was relying on "alternate facts."
The advertisement and Trump's tweet attacking it come amid intensifying tensions between the media and the White House, with the Times particularly in Trump's crosshairs. On Friday, the White House barred several news outlets, including the Times, from attending an off-camera briefing with the press secretary, earning widespread condemnation and a boycott by some outlets who were allowed in the briefing. Earlier that day, the president bashed the media in a lengthy broadcast speech at a conservative event in Maryland.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he would skip the White House Correspondent's Dinner amid reports that some outlets were considering skipping the traditionally-chummy gathering of press, celebrities, and government. Trump previously attended the event as a guest, and was a frequent target of comedian hosts and presidential monologues, most famously at the 2011 event when Trump was roasted while in attendance at the dinner by the president whose citizenship he famously questioned.
Adweek estimated the cost for the ad buy during ABC’s Oscars broadcast tonight could be as high as $2.5 million dollars, while Trump’s tweet spurred interest even prior to the ceremony. Searches for ‘New York Times ad’ spiked just moments after the president’s tweet, according to Google Search Analytics.
You can watch it here.