FACT CHECK: Did CNN Air A 7-Year-Old Image Of An Explosion In Its Coverage Of The War In Ukraine?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims CNN aired a 7-year-old image of an explosion in its coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Verdict: False

The news chyron and silhouettes have been digitally edited into the left-hand photo. There is no evidence the picture of the explosion was taken before Feb. 24.

Fact Check:

Russian aircraft have continued to bombard Ukrainian cities as the Russian invasion extends into its third week, according to The New York Times. One strike hit a maternity hospital in Mariupol on Wednesday, prompting international condemnation, CNN reported.

A post shared on Facebook includes a series of images purportedly from CNN’s coverage of one of the explosions in Ukraine. One image shows an explosion along with a news chyron that reads, “Firey but mostly peaceful explosion in the Ukraine.” Two other images included in the post appear to show smaller versions of the same explosion. “Esplosione Ucraina 2015,” reads text included in one of these smaller photos.

“Ukraine. The exact same explosion, 7 years apart…” reads text included in the post. (RELATED: Did CNN Report That Vladimir Putin Warned India Against Interfering In The Invasion Of Ukraine?)

The image featuring the news chyron is digitally altered. A reverse image search revealed the photo originated from a CNN article showing an explosion in Kyiv Feb. 24. CNN included it in a series of photos titled, “In Pictures: Russia Invades Ukraine,” crediting the Ukrainian President’s Office for the photo. There are notably no news chyrons or silhouettes visible in the original image and Check Your Fact found no instances of the image being used prior to 2022.

The silhouettes of people visible in the corner of the left-hand image are lifted from a 2021 picture that, according to the Associated Press photo archive, shows President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the beach with their dog. The news chyron in the image appears to poke fun at a real chyron CNN aired during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests that read, “Fiery But Mostly Peaceful Protests After Police Shooting.” That real chyron aired while a news anchor spoke in front of a burning building, according to The Hill.

In an emailed statement to Check Your Fact, Senior Director of CNN Communications Bridget Leininger confirmed the screen grab is digitally doctored.

CNN has repeatedly been the subject of misattributed and fabricated reports regarding the conflict in Ukraine. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting that the network had reported on the same man’s death twice.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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