FACT CHECK: Did CNN Air This Chyron About ‘Two Deadly Viruses’ Killing Nigerians?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows CNN airing a chyron that reads, “Two deadly viruses are killing Nigerians: COVID-19 and SARS.”

Verdict: False

The image has been digitally altered to replace “Americans” with “Nigerians” and “Racism” with “SARS.”

Fact Check:

The chyron allegedly aired on anchor Don Lemon’s program “CNN Tonight.” The supposed chyron appears below the words “Don’s Take,” the name of a regular segment on Lemon’s show.

The alleged chyron likely refers to the now-abolished Nigerian police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. Accused of committing extrajudicial killings and torture, the unit has recently been the subject of protests against police brutality, with the hashtag “#EndSARS” being used on Twitter, according to BBC News.

The image in the Oct. 11 Facebook post has been altered. A search of CNN transcripts didn’t turn up any instances of Lemon making a comment to that effect about Nigerians. There is also no record of the chyron on the video clip editing service Grabien.

“CNN did not air this Chiron with Don Lemon,” Bridget Leininger, a senior director of communications at CNN, confirmed to Check Your Fact in an email. (RELATED: Viral Post Falsely Claims Nobody Has Died From COVID-19 At Home)

The original chyron, which appears to have aired in late May, read, “Two deadly viruses are killing Americans: COVID-19 and racism.” In the altered version, the words “Nigerians” and “SARS” have been superimposed over “Americans” and “Racism,” respectively.

This isn’t the first time social media users have shared a doctored CNN chyron. In May, Check Your Fact debunked the claim that CNN aired a chyron that read, “False COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.”

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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