CNN Calls Kenya “Terror Hotbed,” Controversy Erupts

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 1.24.17 PMA CNN news report and banner is causing a social media firestorm and has led the Kenyan Interior Minister to ask for an apology.

An online article by Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr carried the headline, “Obama’s trip to Kenya, a terror hotbed.” In addition, Erin Burnett OutFront, with guest anchor Kate Bolduan, used the banner, “Security Fears as Obama Heads to Terror Hotbed.” The reports looked at the terror threat in Kenya, especially with Al-Shabaab, as President Obama prepares to make a trip to the country as part of a larger trip on the continent. US officials have stressed that there is no major threat to the President in Kenya.

Instead, Kenya is a peace broker for the region. Kenya has helped to negotiate and mediate peace agreements in the Sudanese crisis and the country has several hundred thousand refugees, many of which are coming from Uganda.

This distortion is causing many Kenyans to get angry at the international news organization. The hashtag, SomeoneTellCNN, has been trending worldwide. The original intention of the hashtag was to poke fun at CNN while defending Kenya.

CNN has changed the headline and the lead of the Starr report following the outrage.

The headline was:

Obama’s trip to Kenya, a terror hotbed

Now it is:

Obama’s trip raises security concerns

The lead sentence was:

President Barack Obama is not just heading to his father’s homeland, but to a hotbed of terror.


President Barack Obama is not just heading to his father’s homeland, but to a region that’s a hotbed of terror.

An editor’s note was added, announcing the change and saying that it “has been recast to indicate the terror threat is a regional one.”

However now, the Kenyan Interior Minister, Joseph Nkaissery, has now called on CNN to apologize. He did so in a press conference that was broadcast nationally and he called on Kenyans to reject the CNN report and called on the network to apologize.

TKNN reached out to CNN for comment, but our requests were not immediately returned.

About Tyler

Tyler is the chief media reporter for TKNN, with the news organization since its founding in November of 2010. He has previously served as chief political reporter and chief political anchor for TKNN.

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