In keeping with the rhetoric of President Donald Trump, many conservatives leap at any chance to accuse the media of "fake news," especially CNN.
The usual target is the network's political reporting, of course, but as Hurricane Florence swept through the Carolinas, conservatives instead began targeting its weather coverage, starting with a widely-shared meme of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper standing in waist-deep water, claiming that Cooper had staged the shot.
The meme was even shared by senior Housing and Urban Development official Lynne Patton.
In addition to Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump loyalists.
It’s a shame that CNN’s ratings are down 41%. What’s worse is there’s a simple solution that they refuse to accept.… https://t.co/yS9UIDeVcT— Donald Trump Jr. (@Donald Trump Jr.) 1537102627.0
But turns out, the claim is honest to goodness fake news.
According to Snopes, the pictures of Cooper come from his 2008 coverage of Hurricane Ike in Texas. When faced with this reality, some conservatives insisted that it didn't matter. The point was silent.
@GregTodd_ @Alois7169 @brianstelter @mikeseidel It's still fraud your point is mute— lil trucker (@lil trucker) 1537099309.0
@mackiem68 @iamgavinjames @CNN @andersoncooper @KyleKashuv @TrumpStudents @LaraLeaTrump @EricTrump @Veteran4Trump… https://t.co/70GM7PdWsf— 🇺🇸 sUSAn 🇺🇸 (@🇺🇸 sUSAn 🇺🇸) 1537049831.0
@iamgavinjames @CNN @andersoncooper @KyleKashuv @TrumpStudents @LaraLeaTrump @EricTrump @Veteran4Trump… https://t.co/rrz0tk9FqO— OrgConservAmericans (@OrgConservAmericans) 1537062941.0
But, again, that was fake news.
Not only is the coverage not of Hurricane Florence, but Cooper's report is addressing the abrupt changes in water levels to warn viewers of flood hazards, which he demonstrates.
A lot of right wing loons are spreading a photo of Anderson Cooper waist deep in water during Hurricane Florence. T… https://t.co/VKVJF4cw5G— Danny Boy (@Danny Boy) 1537210484.0
Users were eager to point this out.
@Susan81605624 @iamgavinjames @CNN @andersoncooper @KyleKashuv @TrumpStudents @LaraLeaTrump @EricTrump… https://t.co/oaL7OWErAw— MMackie (@MMackie) 1537051179.0
@DonaldJTrumpJr @realDonaldTrump Cool pic. Why don’t you tell your followers it’s ten years old? Has absolutely no… https://t.co/1Cpon6poZN— Matt Dornic (@Matt Dornic) 1537116028.0
However, the facts didn't seem to change too many minds.
Many still continued to claim that Cooper was on his knees to make the water look deeper.
That's when the homophobic jokes about Cooper, who is gay, ensued.
@iamgavinjames @CNN @andersoncooper @KyleKashuv @TrumpStudents @LaraLeaTrump @EricTrump @Veteran4Trump… https://t.co/MR0sPbxlHS— Mark Leberer, Ph.D. (@Mark Leberer, Ph.D.) 1537076658.0
@ClemsonTom @andersoncooper Anderson Cooper on his knees...... hmmmmm, that's never been said before— Lane (@Lane) 1537056712.0
Others diverted to another video that went viral. This time, of Weather Channel Reporter Mike Seidel appearing to fake struggling against strong winds as two people behind him walked past casually.
So dramatic! Dude from the weather channel bracing for his life, as 2 dudes just stroll past. #HurricaneFlorence https://t.co/8FRyM4NLbL— Tony scar. (@Tony scar.) 1536952081.0
Stay woke my friends!!! They are lying to us!!! @andersoncooper @CNN @weatherchannel @mikeseidel #FakeNews… https://t.co/W5imuDjW45— Froggy 🎙 (@Froggy 🎙) 1537142781.0
OMG...is that Anderson Cooper? Nothing like a bit of drama to show what a great journalist you are. I put this in w… https://t.co/palgVaojzU— White Eagle (@White Eagle) 1537108702.0
To give Conservatives credit, at least this footage was actually from Hurricane Florence. However, The Weather Channel claimed that Seidel was merely trying to keep his balance on the slippery grass:
"It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted."
While this explanation may not be convincing, it still doesn't somehow discredit CNN--an entirely different network. In fact, CNN's own Twitter pointed out Seidel's theatrics.
A weatherman firmly braces himself for Hurricane Florence as two people walk behind him, appearing unaffected by th… https://t.co/VS0H4139A8— CNN (@CNN) 1536978425.0
Nevertheless, as has been proven time and again, facts don't tend to matter unless they're of the alternative variety.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Florence has killed over 20 people.