CNN angered Kenyans, specifically Kenyans on Twitter (KOT). When KOT are angered, they fight. Using hashtags. A few days ago they brought Ugandans to their knees under the hashtag SomeoneTellUganda. Previously, KOT have fought and won battles against nations, personalities and CNN, and today, after CNN hosted an analyst to dissect Obama’s visit to Kenya under the caption SECURITY FEARS AS OBAMA HEADS TO TERROR HOTBED, KOT responded as follows:
— Christopher Kirwa (@chriskirwa) July 23, 2015
#SomeoneTellCNN that there more killings in one day in NYC than the whole year in Nairobi, and our Police don’t kill blacks for sport!
— Donald B Kipkorir (@DBK017) July 23, 2015
The responses didn’t just make #SomeoneTellCNN trend, but made it to trend worldwide, drawing the attention of other International News outlets including The Guardian, Al-Jazeera, CCTV, a few Nigerian News outlets and almost all local news channels. The Guardian first reported of accusations that Nairobi is “being whitewashed in a last-minute attempt to clean-up the streets for [Obama’s] trip” in which a tweet by Robert Alai showing NYC rounding up street families in the city was quoted. The cosmetic measures the County Government has taken to beautify Nairobi ahead of Obama’s visit was not left behind. Quoting Boniface Mwangi, The Guardian said “Kenyans were unimpressed that it has taken such a high profile guest for the city authorities to finally swing into action.” Lastly, The Guardian had this to say about SomeoneTellCNN.
On Thursday the power of #KOT (Kenyans on Twitter) mobilised again to object to a CNN news report warning that Obama was “not just heading to his father’s homeland, but to a region that’s a hotbed of terror”. The report quoted a security analyst who said that while it was unlikely al-Shabaab would get near the president, an attack somewhere in the country during the visit couldn’t be ruled out. The hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN began trending on Twitter, as Kenyans fought back against what they called negative, one-dimensional reporting. Many shared images of Kenyan wildlife and holiday idyll to provide a contrast to the “hotbed of terror” label.
Aljazeera on the other hand did not mishmash SomeoneTellCNN with unrelated stories. They decided to host Amb. Amina Mohammed to take on CNN and explain why Kenyans were angered by the CNN story. Amb. Amina candidly explained that terror is global where countries like Turkey, Chad, Nigeria, Tunisia, Ethiopia, US, UK, France among many others have experienced terror attacks in the recent times.
Important to note is that SomeoneTellCNN trended globally for more than three hours. At the time of writing this article, #SomeoneTellCNN was still at number one trending topics in Kenya and at number seven worldwide trending topic.
Well done Kenyans on Twitter
Although CNN has not apologized for airing the alarmist caption and news analysis on Obama’s visit to Kenya, the fact that KOT managed to draw global attention to CNN’s biased news coverage is already an achievement. Many worldwide are now aware that International News outlets like CNN do not objectively cover African related news, and probably most of them will start distrusting guys like CNN as authentic news source for African affairs. The patriotism portrayed by Kenyans on Twitter should be emulated by everyone, straight from the Presidency to the local news outlets to the rest of us all. In the SomeoneTellCNN tweets storm, Wallace Kantai ridiculed Kenyans by tweeting:
And many were ready to point out to him that local media is no different.
@wgkantai Any difference between local media and CNN bro?
— Ben Kairu (@bkairu5) July 23, 2015
The local media has been in the forefront in covering negative stories about Kenya to the world, portraying images of dirty streets, filthy slums, poverty and illiteracy to the world. There was a time my colleague Fred Ombako wanted to write a story about jua kali in US and Europe, he Googled for photos of informal sector in those places, and nothing came close to the type of photos you’d see online about Gikomba, Eastleigh and Kibera. There is a way the local media in US and Europe hide their dirt – a way that we Kenyans are incapable of.