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CNN media analyst Brian Stelter slammed local ABC stations for airing an “ugly” and “inappropriate” ad from a Republican SuperPAC that showed a picture of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez catching fire and equated democratic socialism with the horrors of Cambodian genocide: “‘How did this ad get past your approval process?”

Stelter made his comments on Erin Burnett’s Out Front, and noted that the attack was consistent with a larger right-wing assault on AOC and other members of “The Squad.”

“This is the same play book that Fox News uses every day, trying to demonize the Democratic women of color part of the new Congress. And we’re seeing that in ads and news coverage and media every day,” Stelter said. “This ad is especially ugly, however. Just when you think ads can’t get worse. You see them take it a step further. I’m sure they’ll say it’s mutually assured destruction, that Democrats will come out with a worse ad next time. But to see a Democratic lawmaker’s face burning up… inappropriate.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has fired back on Twitter at the incendiary ad for targeting her, asking: “Who pays for heightened security? Who answers the phones for the threats resulting from a violent, false ad?”

After Burnett asked the about the outrageous ad’s origins and purpose, Stelter noted that it only played in a handful of markets and was clearly an attempt to game media coverage into spreading its message. However, that didn’t excuse those ABC-owned stations for letting it air in the first place, he added, and they have not responded to Stelter’s questions.

“How did this ad get past your approval process?” Stelter said he asked those stations. “Ads are rejected all the time for being too insensitive or too inappropriate for all sorts of reasons. This got there. There might be some regret today at ABC. They are not admitting that.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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