Fake News: CNN Shamed into Major Corrections on Ghana Election Story

CNN sign
AP Photo/Ric Feld

Using the hashtag #GetitrightCNN, Twitter users in the African nation of Ghana are slamming CNN for a story that they say misrepresents actual conditions in their nation. Ghanaians and others interested in news from Ghana were also critical over CNN’s spelling and other factual errors.

The original December 9 story reporting on the election of opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo to the nation’s presidency claimed that Ghanaians were starving, misreported the dates that Nana Akufo-Addo ran for president in the past, and even spelled the word “Ghanaians” incorrectly.

The errors brought ridicule from Ghanaians who quickly jumped to Twitter to slam the cable network.

With their hashtag #GetitrightCNN, Ghanaian Twitter users pointed out the many errors, especially the incorrect claim that their country was so poor its people are often left starving.

One Twitter user in Ghana wrote, “I didn’t know Ghanaians ‘stand in long lines to obtain products’ or ‘struggle to obtain food’. And I live there.”

The same critic also pointed out that CNN misspelled “Ghanaians,” saying, “At least, spellchecker on the PC of whoever wrote this should have pointed out the word ‘Ghanaians’ and NOT ‘Ghanians’.”

Yet another social media user corrected CNN on dates informing the cable news network that there were no elections in 1998 as the story originally claimed.

Some users also pointed out that the story was written by U.S.-based writers who had never set foot in Ghana.

Others noted that CNN was just blindly following a rote formula for reporting about Africa where all nations are the same — all poor and starving and all corrupt — when the facts say otherwise.

Two days later, CNN updated its story with an editor’s note:

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the status of the retail economy in Ghana. Stores are generally well stocked, and food shortages are rare. The earlier version also erroneously said Nana Akufo-Addo ran for president in 1998. Ghana did not have presidential elections in 1998.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.


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