Monday, March 1, 2021
Monday, March 1, 2021
Home Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine Unrelated 2019 Image Manipulated With CNN Logo To Spark Fear Around COVID-19...

Unrelated 2019 Image Manipulated With CNN Logo To Spark Fear Around COVID-19 Vaccines

The latest on fake news surrounding COVID-19 vaccines includes online users sharing an image with a claim which reads, “hospitals on lockdown as first covid vaccine patients start eating other patients.” The claim’s image shows what looks like a  post-trauma surgery hospital room and is being attributed to CNN, Los Angeles, USA. 

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=113519653928228&id=102557248357802

The claim has been shared on 9GAG and a website called 247sports.com

Screenshot of the claim on 247sports.com
Screenshot of the claim on 247sports.com

Screenshot of the claim on 9GAG
Screenshot of the claim on 9GAG

Fact Check/ Verification 

We first did a Google reverse image search of the photograph in context. This led us to a 2019 opinion piece published by the New York Times (NYT). Titled, “I remember the first time I saw a teenager die,” the article includes the same image from the claim, but without CNN’s logo and breaking news headline. 

Screenshot of Google reverse image search result of the claim's image
Screenshot of Google reverse image search result of the claim’s image

Published on 14 February 2019, the image in the NYT opinion piece carries the caption, “The trauma bay in the emergency department at Temple University Hospital after resuscitation efforts failed,” and credited to Eric Curran, the article’s author. 

Screenshot of 2019 opinion piece published by New York Times titled, "I remember the first time I saw a teenager die"
Screenshot of 2019 opinion piece published by New York Times titled, “I remember the first time I saw a teenager die”

“I started photographing this room out of the helplessness and despair I felt about these senseless deaths. I wanted the violence to stop. I asked if I could hold a camera. Not to capture the dead and dying. They deserve privacy and respect. But I wondered if capturing and sharing the moments after lives are saved and lost could help Americans understand what is happening,” writes Curran. 

The NYT opinion piece was written to throw light on the issue of gun violence in the United States. Nearly 40,000 lives were lost to guns in 2017, reads another NYT article

We compared the claim’s image (left) to the photograph in the 2019 NYT opinion piece (right) and found many similarities. In fact, they were identical with the exception of CNN’s logo, breaking news headline, and the city and time stamp. 

Left: Image from the claim;  Right: Screenshot of the image from a 2019 article published by NYT and credited to Eric Curran
Left: Image from the claim; Right: Screenshot of the image from a 2019 article published by NYT and credited to Eric Curran

CNN Aspect In The Claim

Further, we looked through multiple CNN videos posted on their youtube channel to cross-check if the claim’s image was used in any of their shows, but found nothing. 

Oddly, the claim’s image also included a line which reads, “Nancy Pelosi arrested for DUI.” We did a relevant keyword search to verify this claim, but found no credible evidence to support it. Though we did come across a false drunken photo claim attributed to the speaker of the US House of Representatives, which was previously debunked by other fact-checkers

With news on COVID-19 vaccines making headlines worldwide, we’ve observed a rise in related misleading and fake news being shared on social media platforms. 

The claim’s image included Los Angeles as a city stamp likely because there have been many news reports on leaders/ politicians in the United States receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. 

We found that the image in the claim (in context) aimed to spark fear among citizens using CNN’s logo to pass it off as being authentic information. 

This claim has been debunked in our Hindi fact-check as well. 

Conclusion

The original image in the claim is from a 2019 opinion piece published by the New York Times in light of the gun violence witnessed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The image is not related to coronavirus, and has been manipulated to spark fear among citizens. 

Result: False 

Our Sources

New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/opinion/sunday/guns-violence-hospitals.html

New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/us/gun-deaths.html

CNN: https://www.youtube.com/user/CNN

USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/10/12/fact-check-false-claim-pelosi-drunk-2016-photo-obama/5963347002/

Tampa Bay: https://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2020/08/04/politifact-nancy-pelosi-doesnt-drink-so-why-do-false-claims-about-her-being-drunk-keep-going-viral/

Business Standard: https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/us-vice-president-elect-kamala-harris-receives-first-dose-of-covid-vaccine-120123000182_1.html


If you would like us to fact check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044 or email us at checkthis@newschecker.in. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill the form.

Nikita Vashisth
Nikita Vashisth
Nikita is a writer and editor for English fact-checking. She also leads projects to understand the misinformation and fake-news ecosystem—with an emphasis on data and psychology. Previously, she has worked with IndiaSpend, CNN-News18 and written for Citizen Matters and Mongabay-India on the environment, health, and politics. She’s a postgraduate of the Computational Journalism program at Cardiff University, Wales.

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