Covering protests that rocked the city of Kenosha in Wisconsin, CNN rolled out a chyron saying "“FIERY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL PROTESTS AFTER POLICE SHOOTING”. The reporter who went live from Kenosha said that the protests were "largely peaceful" but became violent at night, while standing in front of one of the burning locations in the city.
The reporting caused intense backlash, particularly from US President Donald Trump's son Eric, who labeled CNN a "national embarassment" in a tweet commenting the chyron. He was not alone in the outrage over the headline, as netizens slammed CNN as a "parody news service" advising the agency to look up the definition of "peace".
CNN ran the chyron tonight: "FIERY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL PROTESTS AFTER POLICE SHOOTING" while a fire raged in the background. pic.twitter.com/nEIKhTrepE— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) August 27, 2020
CNN is now a parody news service..... And they don't even do THAT very well....— John Suter (@MafiaMan82) August 27, 2020
Eric Trump tweeted about the chyron, calling the situation "unbelievable" and receiving thousands of various comments, some supportive, and some attacking him and the Trump family.
The look on his face says even he doesn’t believe it.— Mazzy 🌟🌟🌟 Crossfire Razor Boomerang ❤️ Flynn (@Mazzy_Q) August 27, 2020
They were "mostly peaceful", except those times when people were maiming other people.— BarberiQ (@BarberiQ2) August 27, 2020
Guess those are hot dogs on a grill Sunday bbq in the back ground huh?— Troy M. Heffernan (@eurika7655) August 27, 2020
Mostly peaceful. Not too many things destroyed. Just a few fires. They're probably roasting marshmallows.— Cynthia Beattie (pro law and order) (@swissmissled) August 27, 2020
This is Trumps country - it is on him— p (@pete_clarke) August 27, 2020
Some users described the protest-dispersal tactics in a similar way to that of CNN's.
I don't want to hear anymore whining about police using pepper spray...— Jedi Mind Trick 🇺🇸⭐⭐⭐ (@H2oVolk) August 27, 2020
If these riots are "mostly peaceful", then pepper spray is "mostly spices".
Others projected the CNN coverage style on other events, even going for ones from the fantasy world.
Protests in Kenosha began after a video emerged showing a police officer, Rusten Sheskey, shooting Jacob Blake, who was charged with rape and domestic abuse. Blake survived, but remains in serious condition and is paralyzed from the waist down, according to his family.
The protests have been ongoing since 24 August, with some rioters torching vehicles, setting buildings on fire, smashing windows and clashing with police. On late Tuesday, a violent demonstration turned deadly, when a teenage suspect allegedly killed two people and injured one. He was arrested in Illinois later and charged with first-degree murder.