Continuing its grand tradition of wacky on-air high jinks, this morning CNN briefly reported the “unnerving” sight of someone carrying an ISIS flag at London’s Pride parade. Lucy Pawle, a CNN International editor who was passing the parade on her way home, was shocked to see one of the revelers, “this man, quite distinctive from the rest of the crowd,” waving “a very bad mimicry” of the black and white ISIS flag. She pointed out that while it was “clearly not Arabic,” and indeed looked like it could be “gobbledegook,” it was still “very distinctively the ISIS flag.” Noting that no one else seemed to have been alarmed by this, she subsequently informed the police.
Of course, being a Pride parade, it was in fact a delightful parody of the ISIS flag in which the Arabic was replaced with an impressive array of dildos and butt plugs. But since nobody at CNN looked closely enough to notice that, they not only ran Pawle’s report and photos of the sex-toy flag, but even brought on CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen to gravely analyze the development. He then highlighted how it was “a very strange place to be showing an ISIS flag,” since ISIS hates gays so much.
Toward the end of segment, both the CNN anchor and Bergen did acknowledge that it might be a joke, but hedged that with further concern that the appearance of the flag might mean ISIS was announcing its next Western target.
CNN has removed the video from its website, but the first part of the segment is embedded below, and Mediaite has the full video here.
Whatever the bar was for trolling both an international terrorist organization and an international news network at the same time — consider it now raised.