CNN Did Not Air Pornography, But This Is How Fake News Spreads

Photo: RMV/REX/Shutterstock.
Digital media journalists have become adept at chasing down the 24-hour news cycle and hustling to keep pace with events as they unfold in real time. But only now is the media beginning to catch onto the fake news cycle, which cashes in social media by fabricating clickbait headlines and using shocking imagery.

Case in point: Last night's CNN porn scare. At 10:32 p.m., @solikearose tweeted, "Uhhh @CNN is straight up porn right now...what happened to @PartsUnknownCNN," along with a screenshot of what appeared to be just that: Porn airing on CNN instead of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Twitter user @solikearose also alerted Boston-area cable provider RCN, which responded that it hadn't heard from other viewers about the alleged X-rated programming glitch.

Yet, that possibly fake screenshot and unverified tweet were quickly reported on as fact, The Verge reports. Only after it made headlines at The Independent, Mashable, Esquire, and elsewhere did reporters start to pump their breaks long enough to do some actual reporting.

“Despite media reports to the contrary, RCN assures us there was no interruption of CNN programming in the Boston area last night," a CNN spokesperson confirmed to Esquire journalist Luke O'Neil.

In the meantime, @solikearose has since gone silent and switched their Twitter account to private. The porn star featured in the screenshot, Riley Quinn, still has "as featured on @CNN" on her NSFW Twitter bio.
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