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.
OMG you all have reached a new low Hehe Pokémon Go ?
— Hollywood Dep??? (@mi2guys) October 12, 2017
When you go from Trump colluded with the Kremlin to Pokemon? https://t.co/qZtkXssPNg
— Cristina Laila (@cristinalaila1) October 12, 2017
— Adorable Deplorable (@OliMauritania) October 12, 2017
Please no more. I can’t stop laughing.
— ROCKET MAN (@The_dead222) October 12, 2017
After a year of The Red Menace, CNN digs up The Yellow Peril.
You people have lost your freakin’ minds.
— John Stephen Walsh (@jswriter65) October 12, 2017
— Jennifer❤️Trump?? (@JenniferTrump_) October 12, 2017
The funniest part about this article is that CNN was stirring up the same racial tensions, on the same platforms, at the same time.
— Rep. Steven Smith (@RepStevenSmith) October 12, 2017
The Russian Pokemon Go Bot Army, fresh off the Bot Farms of Putin. pic.twitter.com/qZPYODZiIP
— Wiretapped Patriot (@T64Pamela) October 12, 2017
— Captain Jim #MAGA ? (@_____MAGA______) October 12, 2017
You have got to be F-ing kidding me??!! This is getting ridiculously stupid!! Pokémon Go is now involved in the Russia meddling??
— Lisa P. (@MykidsMylife72) October 12, 2017
Pokémon Go made Hillary Clinton a terrible candidate?
— Tracie (@TracieLiberty) October 12, 2017
How far are we going to go? First it was Russian Meddling through poll machines, then fake news, then facebook ad, now PokemonGo?#fakenews
— Shawn Abraham (@shawnabraham27) October 12, 2017
I follow CNN purely for these tweets..
They call it ‘news’ but it’s comedy if we’re being honest…
— ChopperTheNext (@ChopperTheNext) October 12, 2017
This is CNN
— Vladimir Seamonkey (@Seamonkeysghost) October 12, 2017
That’s some hard core investigative comedy right there. And it comes so natural.
— Alan Yearwood (@Saltbread) October 13, 2017
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