CNN has been accused of fueling racial tensions by lightening the skin tone of the man who drove into the Black Lives Matters protesters in Seattle. However, the claim has been found to be fake and the photograph being circulated on social media sites to be doctored.
Ever since the protests demanding an end to racial in-discrimination erupted after the death of 46-year-old African American George Floyd, a series of fake news items and claims have originated related to racism in the US.
What Is the Claim?
In the widely circulated claim on the social media, CNN is accused of lightening the skin tone of the attacker making him appear white.
The image carries two versions of a photo of a man dressed in a black sweatshirt and baseball hat. He seems to be holding a firearm in his right hand as he walks ahead. In the image, the one on the left side, alleged to be edited by CNN, carries a highly saturated white balance to an extent that it blurs out the facial features of the man. The right side carries an image which social media users claimed to be an original one. It features a man having a dark skin tone.
"CNN lightened the photo of the man who drove into the protester last night in Seattle. They said he was white..ck out the real photo. Ok... do you understand that are just getting everyone riled up with LIES," mentioned the caption accompanying the image.
Truth Behind the Viral Image
According to Reuters, the man in the image has been identified as Nikolas Fernandez who has been charged with one count of first degree assault after police say he drove into a crowd of protesters on Capitol Hill and shot a man attempting to disarm him.
The photo that shows Fernandez wielding what appears to be a firearm was captured by Dean Runtz, a photographer for the Seattle Times. While CNN reported the incident, the report did not carry any image of Fernandez, the gunman in the incident.
In an email to the agency, CNN confirmed that the photograph circulating on social media appears to be doctored. It also indicated that the logo added to the person's "framegrab" is not CNN style.