In the wake of the terrorist attack in London that killed seven people and injured at least 48 others, some are accusing CNN of staging a protest against Islamist violence.
On Sunday, the day following the attack, Daily Mail‘s Katie Hopkins tweeted video footage of CNN’s Becky Anderson standing in front of a street corner waiting for protestors to fill in before filming and narrating the shot.
The protestors, many of whom are women wearing headscarves, are holding signs condemning the terrorist attack and violence. Several people seem to be standing behind the cameras waving at the protestors to tell them where to stand to get on camera, but it’s not clear if they are reporters, demonstrators, or bystanders.
Hopkins also tweeted that BBC News aired footage of the protest, covering it as “real news.”
Obviously, news outlets like CNN and BBC are supposed to document the news and protests as they happen — not arrange them to look more compelling. If it is true that reporters were helping the protestors or arranging them, that would breach journalism ethics.
CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted in response that police allowed protestors to head towards the cameras, which were already set up. He said the network did not encourage or arrange the protestors in front of its cameras or to fill in the space — although Anderson and her crew clearly waited to film until the demonstraters had arranged themselves behind her in a more appealing shot.
Police allowed demonstrators thru cordon "so they could show their signs" to media, @CNNPR says. CNN, BBC, AP "simply filmed them doing so."
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 5, 2017
Because no footage has surfaced of the moments leading up the video in question, it’s so far unclear if either narrative is true.