This image is all over Twitter this morning:
Below a photo of Chapel Hill murderer Craig Hicks, a caption reads “Neighbors: Hicks Known For Rescuing Dogs From Puppy Mills.” Underneath that, smaller text reads “Newest info paints possible hate crime in unlikely light.” There’s a CNN logo to the left of the text, and a crawl and time graphic further down.
The image appears to be, and has been posted as, a CNN television screenshot, but it’s clearly a fake. Here’s why:
First, the font for the caption is wrong, as is the size of the text. Real CNN captions — as can be seen in a Google search for “CNN screenshot” — are shorter, and thus bigger. The second caption in particular is far smaller than seen in actual screenshots, and there’s no reason for it to be — because the text is so much shorter than that of the main caption, it could have been made larger without cutting it off.
Second, I can find no reference to Hicks as a dog rescuer in any media coverage of the case, including CNN’s own. The time graphic reads “2:57 PM PT,” and as I write this it’s eight o’clock in the morning on the West Coast, so the screenshot would have to be at least seventeen hours old. Even if the puppy news was breaking when it was shown on-screen it would have made it into online coverage by now, and even if the story had been withdrawn for some reason a trace of it would remain.
Third — and thanks to Twitterer @superbranch for this one — there’s a spelling error in the second caption. “Unlikely” is spelled “unlikeley.”
There are other problems with the image, too. The blue background for the caption is a shade I don’t see in legit CNN screenshots, and it’s a flat color, not textured as the real ones I’ve seen are. The text of the main caption is longer than CNN’s tend to be, and the second caption doesn’t make much sense — why would Hicks’ supposed history of rescuing animals put the crime itself in a new light?
Nope. It’s a fake.