As Taliban insurgents moved in and seized control of Kabul weeks after the United States withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, news reporters are putting their lives at risk to report the chaotic events that are unfolding in the war-torn country.
Amid the crisis, Twitter handles seemingly belongingto the Afghanistan branches of BBC, MSNBC and CNN news networks posted tweets saying that a CNN reporter named Bernie Gores was captured and executed by Taliban fighters in Kabul.
"#BREAKING: #CNN Journalist 'Bernie Gores' executed in #Kabul by #Taliban soldiers," read an Aug. 16 tweet from "CNN Afghanistan," an account with the handle @CNNAfghan. "We are working with US officials to get several more journalists out of Afghanistan at this time. Our thoughts are with Bernies' family."
Similar tweets were posted by the Afghan MSNBC and BBC accounts. Conservative commentator Steven Crowder's website Louder with Crowder also embedded the tweet in an article criticizing Biden over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
We can confirm that the claim is false. The accounts that posted the tweets are fake and in no way affiliated with BBC, CNN or MSNBC, as pointed out by disinformation researcher Cindy Otis.
The accounts have since been suspended on Twitter.
Who is Bernie Gores?
The man identified in the fake tweet as Bernie Gores is not a CNN reporter. Turns out, that's not even his name. He is, in fact, YouTube personality and Twitch streamer Jordie Jordan who also goes by his online username Wings of Redemption.
This is not the first time Jordan's photograph has been circulated on social media as part of a hoax. The streamer's image, along with the name Bernie Gores, was shared on social media as a person who had gone missing during the Beirut explosion.
This also is not the first time that this type of hoax (spreading an unrelated photograph during a chaotic news event) has gained traction on social media. For examples, internet trolls have frequently circulated an image of comedian Sam Hyde in the aftermath of mass shooting events.