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Twitter disabled a video shared by President Donald Trump on Tuesday in response to a complaint that it used music from “The Dark Knight Rises” without permission from Warner Bros. Now, the president’s campaign manager is tying the episode to a left-wing media plot involving CNN.
The video cut between triumphant shots of Trump and some of his favorite targets in politics and entertainment: Hillary Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell, and others. "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they call you racist,” text splashed across the screen said amid crescendoing music from the 2012 Batman installment. The video racked up more than 32,000 retweets before it was removed late Tuesday night.
“This media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner,” the tweet currently says. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment further to VICE News.
The removal came after Warner Bros., which produced the film, complained that the score by Hans Zimmer was used without the company’s permission.
“The use of Warner Bros.’ score from 'The Dark Knight Rises' in the campaign video was unauthorized,” spokesman Paul McGuire wrote in a statement to VICE News. “We regularly remove unauthorized usage.”
But Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, sees a deeper conspiracy. Warner Bros. is owned by Warner Media, which is now owned by AT&T, which also owns … Trump nemesis CNN. AT&T acquired the whole thing last summer, but not before facing a very public regulatory challenge from … the Trump administration.
“Sad to see an @ATT owned company pull such a great video made by an every day American in good fun,” Parscale tweeted on Tuesday morning. “AT&T now owns @CNN and is positioning themselves as a weapon of the left.”
The video also used footage from VICE’s "Minority Reports" series without permission.
Twitter fielded nearly 100,000 requests to remove such content between January and June of 2018, according to its most recent report, with the number of takedown notices steadily increasing each year. Despite the scale of such copyright complaints, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager claimed on Wednesday morning that the president is being singled out.
Trump allies often target media and entertainment companies in their culture-war narrative, and CNN is a particularly frequent punching bag. Trump tweeted a doctored image of a CNN logo getting hit by a train in the summer of 2017.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Cover image: Christian Bale stands in between scenes during the filming of the new Batman: Dark Knight Rises movie at the Mellon Institute building in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Oakland on July 31, 2011. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)