Twitter and Facebook took down President Donald Trump’s silly meme video Friday that featured two babies running on the sidewalk while a fake CNN chyron parodied cable news coverage. “Terrified Todler Runs From Racist Baby,” the fictitious chyron read, before changing to “Racist Baby Probably A Trump Voter.”
Even though “Todler” was misspelled in a cartoon graphic reminiscent of CNN’s television display, journalists “fact-checked” the clip to invalidate its authenticity, assurring the public that Trump’s video was indeed fake. Twitter initially tagged the post with the “manipulated content” label before enhancing its censorship nearly 24 hours later to remove the video after a complaint from the parent of one of the children depicted.
“This video has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder,” the text now reads in the video’s place. Facebook also removed the video.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2020
CNN’s Chief White House agitator Jim Acosta charged in Friday’s White House press briefing that Trump was exploiting the children to make fun of the network.
“Why is the president sharing fake videos on Twitter about two toddlers who are obviously showing a lot of love for one another?” Acosta asked. “It seems as though he’s exploiting children to make some sort of crass political point.”
“He was making a point about CNN specifically,” McEnany said, citing the network’s coverage of the Covington Catholic kids a year-and-a-half ago that was so defamatory that CNN settled a lawsuit with student Nick Sandmann over its coverage.
“The point is, it was a play on CNN repeatedly taking the president out of context, like the time when you guys had a chyron that read ‘Trump Slams Illegal Immigrants, “They’re Animals,”‘ Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany noted, clarifying that Trump was specifically talking about the deadly international gang MS-13.
CNN's Jim @Acosta re-ups @CNNPR's claim that Trump sharing a @CarpeDonktum video was "exploiting children to make some sort of crass political point." Yes, the network that tried to ruin @N1ckSandmann….@PressSec @KayleighMcEnany was ready and she wasn't having it. pic.twitter.com/0Jpg84DQd6
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 19, 2020
This week is not the first time Twitter has inserted itself into Trump’s tweets. In May, Twitter tagged a pair of posts on mail-in voting as misleading, and flagged another tweet two days later condemning the Minneapolis rioters as “glorifying violence.”
Meanwhile, Twitter has allowed tweets from Iran’s dictator explicitly promoting “jihad” to go unchecked.
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) May 29, 2020