Fox News Rejects Advertisement Condemning Fascism, CNN and MSNBC To Air Commercial

CNN logo in Munich
The logo of CNN is seen in Munich, Germany. CNN and MSNBC will air an anti-Nazi advertisement about the Oscar-nominated documentary short "A Night at the Garden" that was rejected by Fox News. Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto via Getty Images

CNN and MSNBC have agreed to air an advertisement that warns viewers about the dangers of American fascism —- a clip that Fox News declined to broadcast.

The advertisement doubles as a promotion for the Oscar-nominated documentary A Night at the Garden. The short film features a 1939 Nazi rally held in New York City using archival footage of the event.

The half-minute ad includes depicts men and women gesturing the Nazi salute and several instances of violence during the event. At the end of the ad, the phrase "it can happen here" appears in capital letters.

The film's director, Marshall Curry, told The Washington Post on Friday they "decided to dig deep and pay for television ads we weren't planning to buy because we wanted to make the point that Fox News is out the mainstream."

Curry added that the network's rejection of the ad "says something that some news channels trust their audience to interpret American history while Fox distrusts its audience and doesn't think it can do that."

A spokesman for NBCUniversal told The Post that the media network originally rejected the ad because it's content was "too provocative." But the company sent the filmmakers notes on changes that would make the clip fit its standards. The filmmakers added a caption explaining that the videos were part of an Oscar-nominated film and the change resulted in the ad's acceptance.

The edited advertisement will air on CNN and MSNBC during primetime coverage on Monday during The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and The Rachel Maddow Show. The original ad was scheduled to air during Sean Hannity's show on Monday, but it is unclear if Fox News has or will accept the edited version for broadcast.

A Night at the Garden is only about seven minutes long and showcases footage of American Nazis gathered at Madison Square Garden during Adolf Hitler's height of power. At the stadium, there is a giant painting of George Washington and roughly 20,000 assembled Nazi sympathizers.

The filmmakers say the feature is intended to be a warning about demagoguery in the age of Donald Trump and our current state of politics.

Marshall, the director, has said that the point of the film "is less an indictment of bad things that Americans have done in the past, than it is a cautionary tale about the bad things that we might do in the future."

Update, 7:41 p.m., Feb. 16: This article has been updated to reflect new information about the approval of the ad by MSNBC, as well as its rejection by Fox News and to clarify that it is unknown if Fox News will broadcast the edited commercial.

Update, 12:10 p.m., Feb 17: Marshall Curry, the film's director, provided the following statement to Newsweek:

"I understand from a New York Daily News report that a Fox News spokesperson has been pushing the narrative that there are two versions of the ad. This is not correct.

The ad that CNN is running is precisely the same ad as the one that Fox News rejected - not one frame of difference.

The only change that we made to the ad running on MSNBC is that we added the words "Academy Award Nominee" to beginning of the ad for one second. Other than that, the two ads are identical in every way.

Furthermore, we have not submitted any new version of the ad to Fox News, so they are being disingenuous when they claim to be considering airing it. Fox News is obviously trying to create confusion around this topic to distract from an indefensible decision that their CEO made."