CLAIM: A CNN broadcast displayed a banner stating that a shooter was “factually Arabic, but morally white.”
THE FACTS: The image has been manipulated to feature fake text. A CNN representative previously confirmed to The Associated Press that the network didn’t broadcast the banner. The manipulated image was widely shared in recent days by social media users who interpreted it as a real still from a CNN broadcast about the gunman who took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue on Jan. 15. But the altered image originated as satire in 2021 following a shooting in Colorado and is now being recirculated on social media with incorrect claims about coverage of the Texas hostage situation. In the doctored image, CNN host Brooke Baldwin and correspondent Lucy Kafanov are depicted in a split-screen display. A fabricated chyron below the journalists states, “DEVELOPING STORY INVESTIGATION: SHOOTER WAS FACTUALLY ARABIC, BUT MORALLY WHITE.” But the banner is fake and the image has been manipulated. The AP previously reported that the fabricated image emerged in March 2021 on The Babylon Bee, a Christian satirical website. The original image came from a broadcast that month about the shooting at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket in which 10 people were killed. The actual CNN banner stated: “COLORADO SHOOTING SUSPECT BOOKED INTO JAIL TODAY,” according to a TV news archive. At the time, a spokesperson for CNN confirmed in an email to the AP that the chyron on The Babylon Bee site was fabricated and didn’t match the network’s font. In some of the newer versions of the falsified photo, the CNN dateline listing “Boulder, Colorado,” was cropped out of view. The gunman who took four people hostage during a 10-hour standoff at the synagogue in a suburb of Dallas, which ended in his death, was identified as Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen who arrived in the U.S. roughly two weeks ago on a tourist visa, officials said.