A false story alleging that CNN staged a fake protest by Muslims following the June 3rd terrorist attack in London has spread around the Twittersphere, amplified by some of the top voices on the right and alt-right. Twitter user @markanto tweeted the below with the caption, “CNN creating the narrative
— Mark (@markantro) June 4, 2017
The tweet went viral with over 16,000 retweets and was picked up and shared by other accounts. For those on either side (although in this case particularly the right) that disbelieve the mainstream media, the video was further proof of the manufactured fake news. The only problem is that it was not true.
The demonstration had been organized by the London Fatwa Council and the protesters asked the police for permission to cross so that that the news media could get their picture. The police agreed to that request and escorted them to the cameras. The equipment there was for several news organizations, not just CNN.
However, the video had been shared by several prominent tweeters, including Donald Trump, Jr., former governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and alt-right self-proclaimed “national security reporter” Mike Cernovich. Cernovich’s tweet of the video had over 23,000 retweets.
The public relations accounts for CNN and CNN International tweeted at several accounts to offer the correct information. CNN domestic tweeted to Trump and Palin, “This is absolute nonsense. You are misleading your followers. CNN didn’t stage a demonstration. Those are the facts.” They then retweeted that reply to Trump so that all of their followers could see it. However, that correct information was only retweeted 1,000 times. CNN International PR tweeted at Cernovich and controversial Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins, “This is nonsense. Police let demonstrators through the cordon to show their signs. CNN along with other media simply filmed them doing so.” Those tweets as well failed to reach the same level of audience as the false tweets.