Even after a big-news week, Saturday is a tough day to anchor the news. So CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux had to be happy yesterday when CNN international assignment editor Lucy Pawle scored an “exclusive” during this down-news period. Here’s how the network played it:


Malveaux introduced viewers to the “exclusive” with these words: “And this just in, an unnerving sight today at a London gay pride celebration … An ISIS flag among a sea of rainbow colors. A CNN International assignment editor spotted the flag and was able to snap these pictures.”

At that point, Malveaux tossed to Lucy Pawle by phone. The discussion boiled down to this question: Why isn’t anyone else as concerned about this matter as is CNN? Why is this story remaining a CNN exclusive?

Pawle narrated how she discovered the alarming situation — she was walking from work when she a distinctive man who was dressed in black and white, “quite distinctive from the rest of the crowd,” which was bathed in the rainbow colors of Pride. This man was holding a flag. And that flag was “a clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag,” said Pawle.

And to think — the entirety of London had fallen asleep in the midst of this threat! As evidence of this situation, Pawle said, “I seem to be the only person to have spotted this.” She also said, “Nobody seems to be raising any questions or pointing it out.” She also said, “I went to an event organizer and he said he didn’t know anything about it.” (Event organizers are required to know about the terrorists in their parades!) She also said, “If it was a political statement of some sort, it was very subtle. There was no sort of rainbow color, there was no sort of red cross through it … And us Brits are known for our subtle sense of humor but I’m not sure that everyone, if they had spotted it, would have found it amusing.”

Perhaps Pawle & Co. should have pursued that last angle a bit more aggressively. This “clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag” was indeed a clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag — with drawings of sex toys, that is. In other words, probably not much of an “exclusive” here.

And if Pawle had been serious about finding an explanation for the flag, why didn’t she ask the “distinctive” man holding it? Oh, maybe she feared a beheading or something.

In any case, CNN has scrubbed the segment from its site.