Fans of freshman lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter Friday morning to threaten a boycott of broadcaster ABC. The backlash started after at least one affiliate station owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group ran an advertisement that showed a photo of the New York progressive burning.
According to a report from CNN, the advertisement was broadcast during the Thursday night debate between the top 10 contenders for the Democratic Party’s 2020 nomination to face off against President Donald Trump. The ad was aired by New Faces GOP PAC, a new conservative group headed by Elizabeth Heng, a former congressional candidate, per CNN.
The advertisement claimed to represent the “new face” of the Republican Party. Heng, a Cambodian American, denounces socialism and claims that the New York Democrat is the “face of socialism and ignorance.” Heng claimed in the advertisement that her own face is one of “freedom,” according to the CNN report.
The opening shot of the advertisement showed a photo of a smiling Ocasio-Cortez on fire to reveal human skulls once the photo is completely engulfed in flames.
As CNN reported, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to comment on the advertisement.
“Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren’t racist,” the 29-year-old first term lawmaker tweeted. “Life is weird!”
On Friday morning, Ocasio-Cortez would tweet about the advertisement again, specifically mentioning Sinclair Broadcast Group.
GOP’s message: No policy, no facts, just displays of violence + corporations like @ABCNetwork & Sinclair who amplify them.
They profit from burning my likeness on TV. But who pays for heightened security? Who answers the phones for the threats resulting from a violent, false ad? https://t.co/Gr1XhEbwDC
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 13, 2019
While many took aim at ABC as a whole, causing #BoycottABC to trend in the United States, some on Twitter claimed that the advertisement only aired on ABC stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Others said the advertisement was even more localized and only aired on the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., WJLA-TV, which Sinclair owns and operates.
“For everyone using the #BoycottABC tag, you should know that the offensive ad where AOC’s face was burned was actually aired by a Sinclair broadcasting syndicate out of D.C.,” Amee Vanderpool, a Playboy columnist and BBC commentator tweeted, amassing more than 800 retweets. “Sinclair has been in bed with Trump for a while now.”
Some even used the Twitter hashtag to encourage ABC to drop its Sinclair affiliates.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is the largest owner of local television stations in the United States, has a history of facing claims of right-leaning political bias. According to a report from Vox published in 2018, the Baltimore, Maryland-based television giant owns nearly 200 television stations, reaching about 40 percent of homes in the United States. Last year, Sinclair faced criticism after news anchors at its stations read verbatim the same scripts, claiming that members of the media used bias in order to control how people think.
The question I have is for @ABCNetwork. Why ever would you permit an ad to air during the debates showing a picture of @AOC burning? Are you simply washing your hands of having any standards? Are you trying to incite violence? For shame. pic.twitter.com/9mq4OA5OLq
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) September 13, 2019
According to that Vox report, when the company purchases local television stations, it typically shifts its focus to cover less local news and more national politics, often with a conservative bias.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Ocasio-Cortez recently repeated her call to impeach President Donald Trump following reports of unusual military spending at a Trump resort in Scotland. The Bronx, New York, lawmaker has called for the president’s impeachment numerous times since she took office in January of this year, The Inquisitr noted.