- Daniel Caesar dons cape for whiteness—and gets canceled Wednesday 4:29 PM
- Triton is a new malware ‘deliberately’ designed to put lives at risk Wednesday 3:23 PM
- ‘Into the Dark: I’m Just F*cking with You’ is one of the series’ best Wednesday 1:54 PM
- Trump’s latest prop, a map of ISIS, gets memed Wednesday 12:54 PM
- HBO sends fans on a global scavenger hunt for 6 Iron Thrones Wednesday 11:51 AM
- The Awkward Family Photos game is Cards Against Humanity for meme lovers Wednesday 11:50 AM
- London firefighters’ organization accuses ‘Peppa Pig’ of sexism Wednesday 11:41 AM
- YouTuber accused of abusing her children to make kid-friendly content Wednesday 11:20 AM
- Ari Fleischer’s Iraq War tweet isn’t going over well Wednesday 10:54 AM
- Cop arrested for recording man’s genitals, forcing mentally ill man to twerk Wednesday 10:37 AM
- MoviePass rebrands its unlimited plan, again Wednesday 10:37 AM
- Former Alaska senator launches meme-filled 2020 primary campaign Wednesday 10:17 AM
- The Shane Dawson cat controversy has resulted in these sex memes Wednesday 10:06 AM
- Sarah Sanders mocks CNN reporter with ‘dear diary’ tweet Wednesday 9:03 AM
- Know what you’re signing up for thanks to these dating site reviews Wednesday 8:58 AM
Kenyans launch #SomeoneTellCNN after network calls their country a ‘terror hotbed’
That’ll teach CNN to be more careful with its labels.
The CNN story by Barbara Starr, the network’s Pentagon reporter, carried the headline “SECURITY FEARS AS OBAMA HEADS TO TERROR HOTBED.” CNN’s Twitter account promoted the story with a tweet reading, “President @BarackObama isn’t just heading to his father’s homeland, but to a hotbed of terror.”
Kenyans found the story preposterous and insulting, and they responded on Twitter en masse with the hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN, which became a global trending topic.
Kenyans on Twitter know perfectly well that their country faces threats and challenges related to terrorism. The Somalia-based terror group Al Shabaab has been harassing the country for several years, bombing the Westgate Mall and Garissa University, among other targets. But Kenyan Twitter users took issue with what they saw as a typical reduction of a complex country into a tired trope. So they used the hashtag to bash both CNN and the racist clichés that still find root in Western media stories.
But their tweets didn’t just criticize and mock. They also celebrated Kenya as a place of growth and innovation.
Dr. Paul Kahumbu tweeted about a young inventor.
Kamakil’s “Horrifying images from the #HotbedOfTerror” include the movement of wildebeest across the savannah, which we suppose would be terrifying if you got in their way.
Edward Sila Masaku tweeted a graphic called “The Real Nairobi vs How CNN sees Nairobi,” contrasting the cityscape with images of terror.
Joe Ndungu wrote, “If you have to do negative stories start with your own,” and included images of U.S. homelessness.
The hashtag has driven CNN to change the story’s lede. It now calls the region in which Kenya sits a hotbed of terror. The network also changed the headline from “TERROR HOTBED” to “FATHER’S HOMELAND.”
Although it seems unlikely that the mess CNN made of their reporting is really a “sustained campaign” to smear Kenya, as Interior Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said, Nkaissery’s accusation that it “demonstrates heightened irresponsibility by the media network and smacks of arrogance” is much harder to dismiss.
There has been a lot of reasonable criticism of clicktivism. Most people must surely realize by now that liking something on Facebook can’t change much in the real world. But social media can do a few things very well—including raising the profile of issues and, sometimes, even getting results. Hashtags in particular are easy ways of catalyzing support for a movement. #BlackLivesMatter demonstrated this, and now #SomeoneTellCNN has done the same.
Screengrab via CNN
Curt Hopkins has over two decades of experience as a journalist, editorial strategist, and social media manager. His work has been published by Ars Technica, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the also founding director of the Committee to Protect Bloggers, the first organization devoted to global free speech rights for bloggers