Speed Reads

adventures in political advertising

Fox News pulls liberal billionaire's Trump impeachment ad after 'strong negative reaction' from viewers

Two weeks ago, billionaire donor and liberal activist Tom Steyer launched a $10 million ad buy for his 60-second spot arguing for the impeachment of President Trump, and on Monday, his lawyer accused Fox News of reneging on its contract to air the commercial another seven times this week. Fox News doesn't dispute that it pulled the ad. "Due to the strong negative reaction to their ad by our viewers, we could not in good conscience take their money," Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy said in a statement. One of those viewers was apparently Trump. After Steyer's ad played three times on Fox & Friends on Oct. 27, Trump tweeted: "Wacky & totally unhinged Tom Steyer, who has been fighting me and my Make America Great Again agenda from beginning, never wins elections!"

Steyer's lawyer Brad Deutsch said Fox News had "unconditionally" agreed to broadcast Steyer's ad this week, calling the decision to pull the spot "baseless and unethical" and "a profound failure of journalistic integrity, a suppression of constitutionally protected speech, and likely a consequence of inexcusable political pressure." Deutsch said 1.5 million Americans have signed Steyer's impeachment petition. Impeachment is more popular than you might expect in Trump's first year, but there's almost no chance the Republican-led Congress will act on Steyer's suggestion.