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Despite this image being shared on Facebook, CNN never aired a chyron calling Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi an "unarmed father of three." The pieces of the image were manipulated. We rate it Pants on Fire! (Screenshot from Facebook) Despite this image being shared on Facebook, CNN never aired a chyron calling Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi an "unarmed father of three." The pieces of the image were manipulated. We rate it Pants on Fire! (Screenshot from Facebook)

Despite this image being shared on Facebook, CNN never aired a chyron calling Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi an "unarmed father of three." The pieces of the image were manipulated. We rate it Pants on Fire! (Screenshot from Facebook)

Daniel Funke
By Daniel Funke October 30, 2019

CNN did not call Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi an ‘unarmed father of three’

A viral photo of a CNN chyron makes it look like the network sympathized with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former Islamic State leader, after he died in an American raid. But the image is fake.

The post was published on Facebook Oct. 27 — the day after the raid on Baghdadi’s compound in northwestern Syria. It has been shared more than 2,500 times.

"Trump Kills Unarmed Father of Three," reads the chyron. "President calls brave ISIS fighter a ’coward & dog’ … credits Russia in brutal slaying."

The post, which has been published by several other pages and users, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) Some commenters took it as a joke, and others thought it might be real.

CNN never aired a chyron calling Baghdadi an "unarmed father of three." The pieces of the image were manipulated.

Featured Fact-check

The image of Don Lemon, host of "CNN Tonight," has been online since at least January, according to a Google reverse image search. The photo of Baghdadi is real — it was taken from a video posted by the Islamic State’s propaganda arm in April. It could have aired on CNN during Baghdadi coverage, albeit not with this chyron.

We checked CNN captions since the raid was carried out Oct. 26. We could find no mention of the word "unarmed." We also checked "CNN Tonight" archives and could not find a chyron that matched the one in the viral photo.

Then there’s the timing of the chyron.

"This is fake," said Christal Jones, a senior public relations manager at CNN, in an email. "Don’s show airs weeknights 10pm to midnight. The clip shows a time of 9:01pmET."

The Facebook post is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim. We rate it Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Associated Press, "IS leader appears in video for first time in 5 years," April 29, 2019

"CNN Tonight," accessed Oct. 29, 2019

Emailed comment from Christal Jones, a senior public relations manager at CNN, Oct. 29, 2019

Facebook post, Oct. 27, 2019

Facebook post, Oct. 27, 2019

Facebook post, Oct. 27, 2019

Facebook post, Oct. 28, 2019

Google reverse image search, accessed Oct. 29, 2019

PolitiFact, "No evidence photo of Trump watching Baghdadi raid was staged," Oct. 28, 2019

RawStory, "CNN’s Don Lemon calls Wilbur Ross comment the most ‘elitist’ remark he has ever heard," Jan. 24, 2019

TVEyes, accessed Oct. 29, 2019

TV News Archive, accessed Oct. 29, 2019

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CNN did not call Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi an ‘unarmed father of three’

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