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CNN screenshot altered to add fake chyron about Putin and Biden

February 12, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: A screenshot shows a CNN chyron reading: “Sources: Putin to delay invasion until Biden delivers weapons to Ukraine for Russia to capture.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Altered image. The text was added to a screenshot of a CNN news report from 2017. A CNN spokesperson confirmed the image was altered to add the fake chyron.

THE FACTS: Amid tensions over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, social media users are sharing a screenshot of a CNN news report with a fabricated chyron.

The altered screenshot shows CNN anchor Kate Bolduan alongside an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The chyron reads, “Sources: Putin to delay invasion until Biden delivers weapons to Ukraine for Russia to capture.”

“Actual CNN headline,” reads one post with over 22,000 likes on Twitter. While some users noted that the caption was a joke, and some weren’t sure if it was real, others shared it as an authentic CNN story.

It’s not clear where the doctored image first emerged, but a reverse image search shows it has been circulating on Reddit and other message boards for several days.

However the screenshot was altered and the caption was “completely fabricated,” Sydney Baldwin, a senior publicist at CNN, confirmed to The Associated Press in an email.

A clip of the original broadcast was posted on YouTube by CNN in March 2017. The segment, from “At This Hour with Kate Bolduan,” was discussing allegations of Russia’s interference in U.S. elections. The original chyron reads: “Putin: ‘Read my lips: no’, we didn’t interfere in election.”

Bolduan can be seen wearing the exact same clothes as the altered image, and another graphic matches text on the screenshot, reading: “Soon on CNN: Paul Ryan speaks after controversial remarks.” The former House speaker left office in 2019.

The clip also shows that the text in the screenshot circulating on social media does not match the format of CNN’s chyrons, which feature taller and narrower text.

There are no published reports by CNN or any other media outlet matching the claim in the fabricated caption. According to AP reporting, the White House is still unsure if Putin has made any decision to invade Ukraine, though has said that Putin has assembled all the elements to do so quickly.

The U.S. is evacuating almost all of its staff from the embassy in Kyiv and has told Americans in Ukraine to leave. In a call between Biden and Putin on Saturday, Biden said the West was committed to diplomacy but “equally prepared for other scenarios,” the White House said.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.