‘Can’t stop laughing!’ CNN mercilessly mocked for linking ‘Russian meddling’ with Pokémon Go

CNN’s journalistic feat of linking Russian meddling with Pokémon Go earned the network a standing ovation of mockery on social media.

In what they actually called an “exclusive” story on Thursday, CNN claimed the Russians not only did meddle in the 2016 U.S. election, they exploited racial tensions by using YouTube, Tumblr and even Pokémon Go to do it.

CNN alleged that the Russian-linked campaign, titled “Don’t Shoot Us,” posed as part of the Black Lives Matter movement with the “dual goal of galvanizing African-Americans to protest and encouraging other Americans to view black activism as a rising threat.”

The Don’t Shoot Us YouTube page reportedly is home to over 200 videos showing incidents of alleged police brutality and links back to a donotshoot.us website.

According to CNN:

The donotshoot.us website in turn links to a Tumblr account. In July 2016, this Tumblr account announced a contest encouraging readers to play Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game in which users go out into the real world and use their phones to find and “train” Pokémon characters.
Specifically, the Don’t Shoot Us contest directed readers to go to find and train Pokémon near locations where alleged incidents of police brutality had taken place. Users were instructed to give their Pokémon names corresponding with those of the victims. A post promoting the contest showed a Pokémon named “Eric Garner,” for the African-American man who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York Police Department officer.

 

Needless to say, CNN’s bombshell report got plenty of attention, just maybe not the kind they were hoping for.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova raked the network over the coals for “feebly” reporting the so-called investigation.

“According to CNN’s logic, African-Americans shape their civic stances by playing Pokemons,” Zakharova wrote on Facebook, according to Russian news agency, TASS.  “That is how feebly the TV channel explains the surge of racial tensions in modern America. Russians are at fault again…and the Pokemons they control.”

The idea that Russians attempted to interfere in U.S. politics by weaponizing Pokémon Go was also mercilessly mocked on social media.

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