Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 17, 2021

Fake news accounts spread false information about journalists in Afghanistan

If Your Time is short

  • This false information originated with fake news Twitter accounts.

Several Twitter accounts that look like they belong to some well-known news networks recently shared that a journalist had been captured and killed by the Taliban in Kabul. 

But these accounts weren’t authentic and they’ve since been suspended. 

"#BREAKING: #CNN Journalist ‘Bernie Gores’ executed in #Kabul by #Taliban soldiers," read an Aug. 16 tweet from "CNN Afghanistan," an account with the handle @CNNAfghan. "We are working with US officials to get several more journalists out of Afghanistan at this time. Our thoughts are with Bernies’ family." 

"MSNBC Afghanistan," an account with the handle @MSNBCAfghan, tweeted: "#BreakingNews: American journalist ‘Bernie Gores’ executed by #Taliban in #Afghanistan (via @CNN)." 

And "BBC Afghanistan" — @BBC AfghanNews — tweeted: "Multiple reports out of #Afghanistan state #CNN Journalist ‘Bernie Gores’ has been captured and executed by the #Taliban in #Kabul." 

Featured Fact-check

An Instagram post sharing a screenshot of one of the tweets 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.)

CNN didn’t immediately respond to PolitiFact’s query about the tweets. But unlike @CNNAfghan, the network’s many Twitter accounts, including @cnn and @cnni, short for CNN International, are verified with a blue checkmark. 

The name Bernie Gores has appeared online since at least August 2020. Back then, the same photo of the person pictured in the tweets was featured as Bernie Gores, a person missing in Lebanon after a fuel explosion in Beirut. That was a hoax, and so is this. 

News organizations have sought the government’s help protecting journalists in Afghanistan. 

These posts, though, are False.

Update Feb. 28, 2022: Posts using the same picture falsely claimed Bernie Gores was the first American casualty in Russia's invasion of the Ukraine. That, too, is wrong.

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

Fake news accounts spread false information about journalists in Afghanistan

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up