CNN has been forced to deny staging an anti-jihadist protest by ‘Muslim Mothers’ for a “fake news” report, after raw footage appeared to show the event was choreographed for the cameras.
The video shows Anderson and a substantial crew appearing to direct the mostly female “demonstrators”, who file under a cordon one at a time under the watchful eye of nearby police constables.
Flowers are laid out around the group as it appears, and printed placards bearing slogans such as ‘#Love Will Win’ and ‘#TurnToLove’ are spread out.
After crew members make sure everyone is in place, Anderson begins her report saying, “What I want to show you now, viewers, is a wonderful scene” – to muffled laughter from Mark Antro, who filmed the set-up, and other bystanders.
“Look at all the people around me here, behind me here, sad about last night but hopeful for tomorrow,” the normally the normally Abu Dhabi-based journalist continued.
“On the left here, Londoners came to help hurt, behind me you can see a sign here, hashtag ‘turn to love’, hashtag ‘for London’, hashtag ‘ISIS will lose’, and flowers left in remembrance of those who left their lives.”
U.S. media commentator Richard Grenell described the scene as “very disturbing” in a Twitter post which was later recirculated by Dr Sebastian Gorka, the Deputy Assistant to President Donald Trump.
Other online commentators, such as former LBC host Katie Hopkins and popular Trump supporter Mike Cernovich, were more forthright.
“WATCH. @CNN scripting a narrative. Right before your eyes.” tweeted Hopkins.
“CNN caught staging news!” tweeted Cernovich. “They even brought ‘peace group’ printed out papers and props”.
The network fired back, however, with its London-based public relations team insisting their employees had done nothing wrong.
“This is nonsense,” they claimed. “Police let demonstrators through the cordon to show their signs. CNN along with other media simply filmed them doing so.”