CNN Hits Back at Donald Trump Jr.'s 'Fake News' Claims in London Terror Attack Coverage

Donald Trump Jr. accused CNN and other media outlets of staging a Muslim anti-ISIS protest. Brian Losness/Reuters

Broadcaster CNN has fired back at the son of President Donald Trump after he accused the organization of creating and spreading "fake news" following a terrorist attack in London Saturday.

"They create the narrative they want to push & sell it at all costs," Donald Trump Jr.‏ tweeted early Monday, linking to a story on the "alt-right" Gateway Pundit conspiracy theory website.

The story accuses CNN, the BBC and Associated Press of staging a protest of Muslims condemning ISIS Muslims following the London terror attack. The so-called Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack in which three men killed seven people near London Bridge.

In his tweet, Trump accused CNN of creating "fakenews" for filming a group of Muslims holding signs with the social media hashtag phrases #Turntolove and #ForLondon. One sign called ISIS the "enemies of humanity."

Shaykh Mohammad Yazdani Raza, Chairman of London Fatwa Council, led the small march in solidarity with the victims at Borough Market on Sunday where the attack took place. He and his supporters were filmed by news outlets and the group gathered inside a police cordon around the the site of the attack for a photo-op for CNN, the BBC, and other media outlets.

CNN's RP team pushed back against Trump's accusation late Monday, calling it "absolute nonsense" and that he is misleading his followers. "CNN didn't stage a demonstration. Those are the facts," CNN Communications‏ said on Twitter.

This is absolute nonsense. You are misleading your followers. CNN didn't stage a demonstration. Those are the facts.

— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) June 5, 2017

CNN senior correspondent Brian Stelter said that London police allowed the demonstrators through the cordon so that they could show their signs to the media.

Read more: London attacker followed ISIS recruiter and radical U.S. preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril

Behind the scenes footage of the photo-op was filmed and uploaded to Twitter by the "alt-right" follower @markantro who said it showed "CNN creating the narrative."

Leading figures of the self-styled "alt-right" ideological movement mixing racism, white nationalism, conspiracy theories, and misogyny seized on the footage. Conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, and the conspiracy theory website Infowars' founder Alex Jones, cast it as a staged event showing Muslims expressing fake sadness and concern after the attack.

Cernovich and Jones offered $3,500 to the "citizen journalist" for the footage. Both men and the Gateway Pundit outlet shared by Trump are part of the alt-right movement in the U.S. President Trump has also endorsed and spread content from alt-right media outlets.

Cernovich accused CNN of bringing Yazdani Raza's group "printed out papers and props."

During his appearance near London Bridge Sunday, Yazdani Raza said that he and his supporters "give all out support to the victims and pray for the victims. Our presence here is to make it very clear that there is no room for such an act in any place, and especially here."

In a statement released by the London Fatwa Council, which helps women escape abusive marriages, Yazdani Raza said the attack left him "shocked to my core."

The British Muslim community has roundly condemned the attack and has held marches and meet ups in recent weeks to condemn the attacks in Manchester and Westminster in London. On Monday 130 imams and Muslim religious leaders refused to give burial rights to the London attackers.

"I call upon London to stand united in the face of such terror," Yazdani Raza said in defiance of the violence. " We are a strong, resilient community and we know that together we are stronger and can overcome every difficulty.