Fact Check: Video Does NOT Prove CNN Promoted Baseless 'Empire Of The City' Conspiracy

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Prove CNN Promoted Baseless 'Empire Of The City' Conspiracy Reused Footage

Did CNN produce or air a documentary popularizing a baseless conspiracy theory about three cities controlling the world? No, that's not true: A video clip on social media recycled a fragment from a film that, in turn, reused 1997 footage from CNN that included the network's logo.

The claim appeared in a clip published on TikTok on April 28, 2023. Its caption consisted of hashtags:

#greenscreen #fleckscobert #fypシ #trump #trump2020 #fyp #draintheswamp

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-05-01 at 10.27.11 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon May 1 14:27:11 2023 UTC)

In the clip, a man points out at the CNN logo in the footage that appears above him and says:

Looky, looky - C-N-N!

He continues:

It's kinda very interesting. You should write down some stuff too.

The shot in question shows Tony Blair, a British politician who served as that country's prime minister between 1997 and 2007. As the video starts to play, the CNN logo disappears, and the audiences hears a female narrator:

... state of London and the Vatican. A third city state was officially created in 1984. That city state is called the District of Columbia.

The voice-over refers to a baseless conspiracy theory about three cities purportedly controlling the world's economy, military and spirituality.

The clip on TikTok created a false impression that CNN once promoted this conspiracy, but that is not the case.

A reverse image search shows that the footage in question is a fragment of the 2007 film titled "Ring of Power: Empire of the City," reshared on YouTube in 2018 and on Bitchute in 2022.

The segment published on TikTok begins at the 45:06 mark (the 45:09 mark on YouTube, respectively.)

The composite image below demonstrates that the clip on TikTok uses the same shots in the same order:

Screen Shot 2023-05-01 at 11.48.46 AM.png

(Sources (counter-clock): BitChute screenshot taken on Mon May 1 15:39:44 2023 UTC; TikTok screenshot taken on Mon May 1 14:27:11 2023 UTC; BitChute screenshot taken on Mon May 1 15:40:05 2023 UTC; TikTok screenshot taken on Mon May 1 15:45:58 2023 UTC; BitChute screenshot taken on Mon May 1 15:40:22 2023 UTC; TikTok screenshot taken on Mon May 1 15:46:12 2023 UTC; composite image by Lead Stories)

The 2018 YouTube description says that the film was produced by the entity called "Amenstop Productions," not CNN.

A Google search across the CNN website produces no relevant results:

Screen Shot 2023-05-01 at 12.05.38 PM.png

(Source: Google screenshot taken on Mon May 1 16:05:38 2023 UTC)

The shot of Tony Blair captures him moments before his acceptance speech in 1997, and the video of the event is still available on C-Span:

Screen Shot 2023-05-01 at 11.35.58 AM.png

(Source: C-Span screenshot taken on Mon May 1 15:35:58 2023 UTC)

CNN aired reports on Blair's speech as part of its news coverage, not the pseudo-documentary that reused shots with the network's logo.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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