CNN has denied online claims that it ‘set up’ a counter-extremism demonstration behind one of its reporters. A group from the London Fatwa Council came to the police cordon near the London Bridge terror attacks with banners proclaiming ‘ISIS will lose’ yesterday afternoon.
Via: Richard Spillett
But a video which emerged of the group apparently being positioned by TV reporters led to claims online that the channel was ‘creating a narrative’.
The video shows the group being ushered past the media and positioned so that cameras can see them.
Reporter Becky Anderson mentioned the protesters’ signs in her news report on the terror attack.
She said: ‘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.’
She called the demonstrators a ‘poignant scene’ and urged the camera to pause on them to viewers ‘how people feel here on the streets of London’.
The man who filmed the footage, a Twitter user called @markantro, tweeted: ‘CNN creating the narrative #FakeNews’
They insisted the same scene was filmed by other broadcasters, including the BBC and ITV, who had positioned themselves at the police cordon.
A CNN spokesman said: ‘This story is nonsense. The group of demonstrators that was at the police cordon was being allowed through by officers so they could show their signs to the gathered media.
‘The CNN crew along with other media present simply filmed them doing so.’
Mohammad Raza of the London Fatwa Council, who took part in the demonstration, told MailOnline suggestions the event was staged were ‘completely false’.
He said: ‘Nothing was set up. We all decided to go down there. We are members of a faith foundation which includes Jewish, Christian and Muslim members.
‘We went down there on our own initiative to lay flowers at the scene.’
He insisted any actions by TV crews was their own concern and his group had not been told what to do.
The row over the news channel came as US President Donald Trump launched an online attack on Sadiq Khan.
Trump hit out after the London Mayor told people there was ‘no reason to be alarmed’ about an increased police presence in the coming days.
The US president tweeted: ‘At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!”.’
This prompted Mr Khan’s spokesman to state the mayor has ‘more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed’ tweet, before Mr Khan later suggested he does not regard Mr Trump’s planned state visit as welcome.
Mr Trump continued to criticise Mr Khan, tweeting on Monday: ‘Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his “no reason to be alarmed” statement. MSM (mainstream media) is working hard to sell it!’
Talking about his earlier comments, Mr Khan insisted made clear that he was advising people not to be concerned by the presence of additional armed police officers on the streets of the capital in the days to come, and not playing down anxieties about the attack itself.