ABC News repeatedly aired a video that its journalists said showed a Turkish attack against Kurdish civilians in northern Syria.
“This video, right here, appearing to show Turkey’s military bombing Kurd civilians in a Syrian border town,” Llamas said Sunday on “World News Tonight” as the video played.
The same clip was played Monday on “Good Morning America,.”
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However, as online commentators were quick to note, the footage actually appears to be from a Kentucky gun range. The explosions in the ABC News footage are identical to those seen in a YouTube video of a 2017 military show at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point.
The video is titled “Knob Creek night shoot 2017.”
Every April and October, the gun range holds the Military Gun Shoot & Military Gun Show in which weapons are fired at night. Members of the public are welcome to attend for a fee.
The YouTube video features slight differences compared to the ABC News version. The colors appear less saturated and people holding up their phones to record the explosions are not visible in the frame.
During the “World News Tonight” broadcast, both Llamas and foreign correspondent Ian Pannell made clear that the outlet had not shot the footage itself, even as they touted its significance.
“This video, obtained by ABC News, appears to show the fury of the Turkish attack on the border town of Tal Abyad two nights ago,” Panell said.
Reactions to the fake ABC News Syria video
Right-wing commentators quickly called out ABC News on Twitter, questioning whether the outlet was tricked or had willfully deceived viewers.
Many suggested ABC News was trying to make President Donald Trump look bad for letting Turkey launch a military operation in northern Syria starting last week.
ABC News attempted to pass off footage from a 2017 gun range show as evidence of Turkey bombing Kurdish civilians in order to blame President Trump.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) October 14, 2019
Trump supporters have hailed the president for defying the foreign policy establishment and fulfilling his promise to pull the United States out of costly and unwinnable foreign entanglements.
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However, Republicans and Democrats have condemened Trump for abandoning the Kurds, who allied with the United States to fight the Islamic State.
More recently, and somewhat contradictorily, critics have also decried the president for allowing Syrian forces to move into the region as part of a new alliance with the Kurds, saying it empowers Damascus-aligned U.S. adversaries Iran and Russia.
Amid criticism and mockery, ABC News acknowledged its error in a tweet Monday.
“CORRECTION: We’ve taken down video that aired on ‘World News Tonight’ Sunday and ‘Good Morning America’ this morning that appeared to be from the Syrian border immediately after questions were raised about its accuracy,” the post said. “ABC News regrets the error.”