Taliban has made the global headlines after it took over Afghanistan. While future of the country is at the hands of Taliban, shocking news reports of people fleeing the country in fear of Taliban rule have shocked the entire world. Amidst all this, a viral screenshot from CNN grabbed the attention of many as the television network appeared to have praised Taliban.
The screengrab of CNN news telecast with the headline "Taliban Fighters Responsibly Wearing Masks" went viral on social media after many verified accounts circulated the image on Twitter. Drawing criticism towards the TV network, many netizens lashed out at CNN for praising the Taliban.
One such account that shared the viral image is of Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, which garnered nearly 7,000 likes as of this writing. Agnihotri credited the image to stand-up comedian Joe Rogan's post on Instagram, which was actually a repost from parody account The Babylon Bee.
Similarly, film producer Ashoke Pandit shared the same image to attract over 200 likes, but shared it believing the article was real. Many other verified accounts shared the image, making it go viral with a context that is different from what was intended.
International Business Times reviewed the claims and tracked the original source of the image, which traced to The Babylon Bee. The article with CNN's logo can also be found at the official website of BabylonBee, which calls itself a satire site that is "totally inerrant in all its truth claims". The site's Twitter bio reads: "Fake news you can trust".
All this clearly points to the fact that the viral image claiming CNN praised Taliban is fake and satire in nature. The CNN logo was clearly photoshopped along with the ticker headline.
As for the image showing Taliban members, an image-reverse search shows that it was originally published in a BBC article in 2012. The photo was taken in 2007. Given the ongoing Afghanistan crisis and the Taliban at the centre of it all, the satire image has gone viral.
Based on these facts, IBTimes has arrived at the conclusion that CNN did not praise Taliban for wearing masks.