Remember when watching the news on TV was something you could do whenever you needed in-depth information about something? The Internet has not only essentially dismantled the power of the 24-hour newscycle, but it is also used to point out all the times in which anchors and reporters from cable news and local news get things wrong. Case in point: this video centered on a CNN reporter who saw a non-rainbow flag with a bunch of dildos and buttplugs on it at a Gay Pride parade and immediately assumed it was a legitimate ISIS flag.
“If our orifices go unfilled, the terrorists have won!” seemed to be the message that CNN’s esteemed crew figures this particular flag-waver is spreading. London CNN editor Lucy Pawle called into the broadcast with pictures of the flag, which was giant enough for its images to be seen and recognized and definitely not mistaken for any of the world’s languages. Yet that’s exactly what happened. To her credit, Pawle was at least aware that it wasn’t an exact representation of the ISIS banner, but still didn’t recognize the Mad Magazine-ness of it all.
I mean, if you look at the flag closely, it’s clearly not Arabic. In fact, it looks like it could be gobbledygook. But it’s very distinctive, the ISIS flag. Anyway, I seem to be the only person who has spotted this.
If she’d wiped the gobbledygook out of her eye sockets, Pawle might have recognized just how many phallic items were displayed on the flag. One could argue that many letters from many different languages indeed look phallic, but that would just provoke ribbing. (Pun intended.)
Perhaps more troubling than Pawle’s occupational dedication to proving her wrongness is that no one down the CNN line figured out what was going on before the photos made it to air, presumably thinking that “ISIS at a gay pride gathering” was much more interesting than fact-checking. In fact, in the relatively many minutes that this flag was talked about – about 7 or so – the network even brought in their National Security Analyst Peter Bergen to talk about it. And his analysis somehow wasn’t comprised of breathless laughter and endless derision.
If you’re looking for derision, though, you can find it below during a segment of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, in which John Oliver spends a couple of minutes trashing CNN while cheering for the long-awaited legalization of gay marriage.
If only Batman would have shown up to save the world from the dreaded threat of sexual pleasure. But then who knows what terrorist organization’s calling card CNN might have mistaken the Bat Signal for.