Fact check: Fake footage disguised as CNN cover goes viral amid war in Ukraine
A series of fake screenshots — screenshots that purport to represent CNN news reporting but are actually fabrications that aren’t from CNN at all — have spread widely across social media platforms over the course of the last week.
One such fake, a screenshot of a non-existent “CNN” report on actor Steven Seagal spotted in Ukraine, was shared and then deleted by prominent podcaster Joe Rogan on Monday.
A second fake was posted by a hoax Twitter account that falsely claimed to be affiliated with CNN. This forgery, of a non-existent “CNN” report on an American killed in Ukraine, was amplified on Monday by a Russian representative to the United Nations.
A third fake was a digitally altered screenshot that inserted bogus text about India and the war in Ukraine into an unrelated CNN television segment from 2019.
Here is an overview of the three.
A fake article about Steven Seagal
The text of the fake ‘CNN’ message reads: “Intelligence agencies around the world have spotted American actor Steven Seagal among Russian special forces positioned around the outskirts of Gostomel airfield near Kiev captured by Russian airborne troops.”
Seagal’s fake image has already been debunked by multiple outlets, including PolitiFact and Mediaite.
Fake tweets about the death of an American
The first tweet, an August post from an account calling itself “CNN Afghanistan”, said a journalist named Bernie Gores had been executed by the Taliban in Kabul. The second tweet, a Feb. 23 post from an account calling itself “CNN Ukraine,” said an activist by the name of Bernie Gores was the “first American victim of the Ukraine crisis,” having been killed by a “ mine laid by Russian-backed separatists”. ”
Both tweets used the same photo of “Bernie Gores”. Many social media users were duped by the fake accounts, and they criticized or mocked CNN for supposedly reporting that the same man had died in two different wars.
A fake screenshot about Russia and India
The image shows Putin on the left and CNN journalist Frederik Pleitgen reporting from Moscow on the right. A text title near the bottom of the image reads: ‘PUTIN’S NEW PUNCHLINE’. But the doctored text just below says: “India should not intervene, otherwise be prepared to face the consequences.
Besides the poor formatting and grammar of the fabricated phrase “India”, a telltale sign that the image isn’t from 2022 is that there’s a box under Pleitgen’s face promoting CNN’s special coverage of the impeachment hearings. Pleitgen was reporting as the House of Representatives prepared to impeach then-President Donald Trump for the first time. There are no major impeachment hearings in 2022.