Chinese Media about Western ‘Fake News’: “CNN Stages Anti-Terrorism Muslim Protest”

A Western ‘fake news’ controversy after the London Bridge attacks has become a trending topic on Sina Weibo. The Communist Youth League and many other Chinese media outlets reported about a ‘staged’ CNN item on Monday. “Chinese media are selective in what they report, Western media are creative in how they report”, some commenters say.

Several Western international media outlets have triggered wide controversy and outrage on Twitter and Facebook over their coverage after the London Bridge attacks.

On June 4th, social media users accused American broadcaster CNN of staging an anti-ISIS protest in London after Twitter user @markantro uploaded a video that shows how police and TV producers direct a group of Muslim women to stand in line with their protest signs behind TV anchor Becky Anderson.

“CNN creating the narrative #FakeNews,” the Twitterer said.

“CNN caught staging news! They even brought “peace group” printed out papers and props,” reporter Mike Cernovich wrote.

CNN later denied staging the protest, posting on Twitter: “This is nonsense. Police let demonstrators through the cordon to show their signs. CNN along with other media simply filmed them doing so.”

CNN’s response was also translated and published in Chinese media (Guancha.com).

The BBC was also widely criticized on Twitter for using the alleged “staged” CNN footage, and for not broadcasting footage that reportedly shows the attackers shouting “for Allah” during their stabbing rampage. On Saturday, BBC producer Julia Macfarlane wrote on Twitter that the BBC indeed had footage of the attackers shouting “this is for Allah.”

YouTuber and writer Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) wrote: “FAKE media. BBC refuses to air tape of terrorists saying “this is for Allah”. CNN stages Muslim anti-ISIS protest. We are being conned.”

Several Chinese media (e.g. China’s official Communist Youth League account, Phoenix News, Sina Military News, Global Times, Hong Kong Business Newspaper, and many others) reported about the ‘fake news’ controversy on Monday.

“A clip that is going viral on the internet shows how the Western well-known media outlet CNN stages a video after the London terrorist attack. This was filmed and leaked online,” the Communist Youth League wrote.

 

“Trump was right after all.”

 

The ‘fake news’ controversy soon made its rounds on Weibo, with many saying: “Western mainstream media are just cooking up stories.” An image of BBC also using the ‘staged’ setting as news was shared by a Guancha.com columnist.

“CNN should get a prize for Best Production,” one person laughingly said.

“Chinese media are selective in what they report, Western media are creative in how they report,” another commenter said.

The Global Times account ‘This is America’ (@这里是美国) also reported the incident, including CNN’s denial of a ‘staged’ protest. They asked their followers if they thought CNN was creating ‘fake news.’

Some expressed that Chinese netizens are the right target group to ask this question: “We are specialists [in this].”

“This is a classical case of staging,” blogger @Sven_svi wrote: “The reporter chooses the camera frame, designates the area for the Muslims to stand in, and lets them show their signs against terrorism. By doing so, CNN is ‘creating’ its own news.”

“CNN probably stands for Chinese National News,” one person joked.

People also posted a photo of a person carrying a sign saying ‘CNN is ISIS.’ “The Americans have had enough,” they write.

“Trump was right after all,” an account named ‘Voice of Justice’ (@正义的呼声A) wrote: “American news is fake news.”

Trump ‘fake news’ photo posted by Guancha.com columnist in response to the CNN controversy.

By Manya Koetse

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About the author: Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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