Is Bernie Gores dead? TRUTH behind rumour that CNN journalist has been executed by Taliban

'#CNN Journalist ‘Bernie Gores’ executed in #Kabul by #Taliban soldiers,' read an August 16 tweet from 'CNN Afghanistan'

                            Is Bernie Gores dead? TRUTH behind rumour that CNN journalist has been executed by Taliban
Fake news Twitter accounts claimed that the Taliban executed CNN reporter Bernie Gores (Twitter/ @CNNAfghan)

Even as the world reels from the harrowing scenes of desperation and panic coming out of Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the capital of the country following President Joe Biden pulling out American troops, Twitter was hit with further shock after news reports circulated claiming a CNN reporter had been executed by the Islamic military group.

The news in question was tweeted out by several accounts disguised as authentic news outlets. "#BREAKING: #CNN Journalist ‘Bernie Gores’ executed in #Kabul by #Taliban soldiers," read an August 16 tweet from "CNN Afghanistan," an account with the handle @CNNAfghan. "We are working with US officials to get several more journalists out of Afghanistan at this time. Our thoughts are with Bernies’ family." 


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Screenshot of a tweet by a fake news account claiming that a CNN reporter had been executed by the Taliban (Twitter/ @CNNAfghan)

Who is Bernie Gores?

The news of Bernie Gores being killed by the Taliban was not only reported by @CNNAfghan, the news was also circulated by accounts that labeled themselves as Afghan news accounts MSNBC and BBC. "MSNBC Afghanistan," an account with the handle @MSNBCAfghan, tweeted: "#BreakingNews: American journalist ‘Bernie Gores’ executed by #Taliban in #Afghanistan (via @CNN)." @BBC AfghanNews — tweeted: "Multiple reports out of #Afghanistan state #CNN Journalist ‘Bernie Gores’ has been captured and executed by the #Taliban in #Kabul."

All of their tweets included the same photo — that of a smiling White, bald man wearing glasses. There was just one problem. A journalist named Bernie Gores, working for CNN, does not seem to exist. Although the tweets claim Bernie Gores is employed by CNN, his byline isn’t anywhere on the network’s website. What's more, the identity of Bernie Gores has been used in perpetrating other hoaxes in the past. In August 2020, the same photo pictured in the tweets was used under the same name to represent a person missing in Lebanon after a fuel explosion in Beirut.

And the accounts which tweeted out the news of his alleged execution were not verified. According to Daily Dot, the accounts claiming to be associated with BBC (@BBCAfghanNews) and CNN were created in May 2021, and accounts claiming to be a part of MSNBC (@MSNBCAfghan) was created in July of this year. Unlike @CNNAfghan, the network’s many Twitter accounts, including @cnn and @cnni, short for CNN International, are verified with a blue checkmark. While the Bernie Gores tweet was the only tweet posted by the unverified BBC and MSNBC Twitter accounts, @CNNAfghan account did have other posts linking to real CNN stories.

'My prayers go out to everyone at @CNN'

The fake news accounts were suspended by mid-day on Tuesday, August 16, but not before their tweets sent Twitter into a meltdown. "This is Bernie Gore. He was an American journalist for CNN stationed in Kabul. He was executed by the Taliban on Sunday. US is still trying to get several more journalists out...... Say his name @JoeBiden!!!!!" one user reacted to the news of Gores. Another commented, "This is the first post I have seen about this. A friend told me to search #BernieGores Bernie was a @CNN #CNN Journalist. He was executed in #Kabul by #Taliban. Is the CNN woman journalist going to still say the people are nice???" One more said, "This is a massive humanitarian crisis. So sad. My prayers go out to everyone at @CNN. they lost a young journalist, Bernie Gores, who was executed by the Taliban. Nothing but prayers and well wishes to his family in America. #RIPBernie"





However, not everyone fell for the hoax. One user trolled the fake news tweet after realizing it was not authentic. "Bernie Gore’s final wish on camera was for all of humanity to invest in Wendy’s fast food LLC stock so that they may enjoy the chili bowls from there he so wonderfully did in his time among us. #BernieGores #CNN #Taliban #[email protected] @MSNBCAfghan." Another mocked the fact that conservative media host and political commentator Steven Crowder had fallen for the hoax. "Steven Crowder's website 'Louder With Crowder' just cited a quote tweet from a fake CNN account with a picture of Wings of Redemption stating "Journalist 'Bernie Gores' executed in #Kabul by #Taliban soldiers." How dumb are LWC??? LMAO," the user tweeted with screenshots of Crowder's website.