A few days ago, CNN thought they spotted an ISIS flag at a gay pride rally in London. The network’s London correspondent, Lucy Pawle, spotted the flag, and thought it was an ISIS flag, mostly because it was black, the characters on it were white, and the man carrying it was wearing black and white. She acknowledged that the characters weren’t Arabic, but stated that the flag was very clearly meant to mimic an ISIS flag.
The problem is, it wasn’t. The flag was a parody, and covered in images of sex toys. The mistake spread like wildfire throughout the media and the blogosphere, and CNN took the video down. Since they took the video down, did they also acknowledge the mistake and issue a retraction, as they probably should have on Saturday?
Actually, the Washington Post says no, they haven’t, and they won’t. The Post’s story on this says that, when they asked CNN whether they were going to issue a statement or not, a spokesperson for CNN emailed, “No.” That’s it. That’s all. No explanation, and definitely no retraction. Just, “no.”
So, apparently, they think pulling the video is enough of a retraction. Or enough to show they’ve taken responsibility for the mistake. The Post says, “Team CNN couldn’t fathom why more people weren’t alarmed by the situation,” and they correctly point out that this is “piling one mistake on top of another.”
What’s happened is that they’re jumping at every shadow they see, and there’s a reason for that. As Vox put it, it may be part of a larger pattern of overhyping terrorism in an attempt to bolster ratings.
Western society has started seeing ISIS everywhere, as our leaders and our media keep talking about the grave threat that is ISIS all over the world. It pushes fear, which drives ratings. Vox says that this “was clearly their JV team making a flub.” It was a monumental flub, but it’s sadly consistent with the way CNN’s been overhyping terrorism for years.
Perhaps they think issuing a retraction will just draw attention to the mistake, and make them bigger laughingstocks than they already are. Maybe they think they’ll lose credibility, and thus, ratings, if they issued a retraction. It would be the right thing to do, though, and would also make this blow over a lot quicker.
Here’s a video of the original report, still up on YouTube:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y6qTLf0AI4?rel=0&w=560&h=315]
Featured image via screen capture