CNN blows it again on Obama Kenya trip

Kenyan ambassador Amina Mohamed, July 24, 2015

Kenyan ambassador Amina Mohamed, July 24, 2015

Fresh off its “dildo flag” fiasco, CNN once again has lost its journalistic marbles. Once again, the subject is terrorism, and once again CNN has made a wild, unfounded claim on air, this time regarding President Barack Obama‘s trip to Kenya. And once again, CNN’s terrorism frenzy involves anchor Suzanne (pronounced SuzONNE) Malveaux.

This time, as President Obama was embarking on his historical trip to Kenya, CNN went with hysterical rather than historical, calling Kenya “a hotbed of terror.” CNN even had former Obama Secret Service agent Jonathan Wackrow on to state:

People have been anticipating this trip since the day that he [Obama] was first elected. So the people that want to hurt the president, you know, have been planning for the last seven years for this trip.

Thankfully, the Kenyans themselves responded appropriately to CNN. First, they started (and many others picked up on) the Twitter hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN to tell CNN all kinds of things, such as:


Likewise, some prominent Kenyans took to the airwaves to quell CNN’s hysteria. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said:

I encourage all of you to see for yourselves the enchanting beauty and promise of this country. You will without a doubt discover that Kenya is a hotbed of vibrant culture, spectacular natural beauty, a wonderful people with infinite possibility.

And billionaire Kenyan businessman Chris Kirubi said:

If anything, we are the hotbed of investment opportunities…. I like to give that channel that is displaying negativities about Kenya a red card. That red card means that they have crossed the boundary. They deserve to be condemned for their agenda.

Now, no one is saying that Kenya is perfectly safe. But Kenya doesn’t register extraordinarily high on the list of terrorism incidents, either in 2014 or this year. The fact is that many countries, including the U.S., experience terrorist attacks nowadays. And a U.S. President cannot visit any foreign country without an enormous amount of safety precautions. But if CNN really wants to look at a “hotbed of terror,” it should look no further than the United States, where gun violence kills more people than terrorism any day of the week.

At best, CNN is hyping unfounded terrorism fears about President Obama’s trip to Kenya to boost ratings, and that is an abdication of any serious claim of reporting the news using good journalism practices. At worst, CNN could be accused of trying to be Fox News Lite, stirring up exaggerated terrorism fears about an African country for the political purpose of undermining President Obama and his administration. And that’s closer to the definition of actual “terrorism.”

Photo by U.S. Embassy Nairobi, used under Creative Commons license.

2 Responses to CNN blows it again on Obama Kenya trip
  1. Joe Santorsa (@Marnus3)
    July 27, 2015 | 11:29 am

    Great post, as always. CNN, as well as many corporate “news” organizations have long ago abandoned good journalistic practices for fear mongering and sensationalism.

  2. Messaging Matters
    July 27, 2015 | 3:46 pm

    Absolutely, Joe. See also the New York Times’ latest Clinton reporting fiasco, requiring yet another mea culpa from their Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan. NYT does the inaccurate sensationalism so often with the Clintons, it has now joined the Fox News club.

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