Fact Check-Viral screenshot of CNN news report about Afghanistan is digitally altered

A screenshot claiming to show CNN news footage of Afghanistan after the Taliban entered the capital city, Kabul, on Aug. 15 is digitally altered.

The image shows a reporter in front of a photograph of a helicopter flying over the U.S. embassy in Kabul with a caption that reads: “Violent but mostly peaceful transition of power.”

Examples of the image are viewable (here , here , here , here , here , here , here and here).

Although some viewed the screenshot as satire, many were confused or believed it to be authentic.

One social media user said in the comments: “Just when you thought they couldn’t come up with a more idiotic headline, there they go.”

Another said: “Is this a REAL headline? Like I’m legit asking. I don’t watch CNN, but the headlines I do see let me know what to expect, which is why I’m asking. Is this real?”

The screenshot is doctored, however, with a falsified caption and a superimposed image of a CNN journalist that originates from a report that aired in Aug. 2020. A CNN spokesperson also confirmed to Reuters that the screenshot was not real.

The typography is noticeably bolder in the headline than CNN’s usual style. On the left side of the altered image, the Republican National Convention is advertised. The convention took place in August 2020 and will not recommence until 2024, when the party will put forward a presidential candidate.

The doctored image also uses a screengrab of CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez reporting from Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests against police brutality after Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer and was paralyzed from the waist down (here).

Some criticized CNN for a caption aired during the August 2020 protests, which read: “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests after police shooting” (here) (here).

The image in the background is authentic and was taken by photographer Rahmat Gul.

It was published in the Associated Press with a caption that reads: “A U.S. Chinook helicopter flies over the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. Helicopters are landing at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul as diplomatic vehicles leave the compound amid the Taliban advance on the Afghan capital” (here).

The Taliban entered Kabul on Aug. 15 after successive days of significant advancement through major cities in Afghanistan (here), (here), (here).


False. The image does not show authentic CNN coverage of Afghanistan. The caption is digitally altered, and the screenshot superimposes a CNN correspondent into the image using a frame from a 2020 report.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .