The Faked NPR Video Expose & Why We Believe In Crop Circles
Several weeks ago the news of a hidden video camera used to take down National Public Radio execs got my attention. It is generally acknowledged from Time magazine to Glenn Beck that this was a sham of "creative" video editing. If you are a student of argument tricks, it is called Contextomy and it refers to the selective excerpting or "quote mining" of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source’s intended meaning. Here is a link to the original 2-hour raw video and a link to the final video. If you don't want to watch the raw footage (I did and wouldn't recommend it), here is a six-minute video that reveals the tricks.
It's not that I am particularly interested in the politics of it.
I'll leave that for another debate by the pol-wonks. As a digital media veteran, I am intrigued the how and why crop circle videos like these by James O'Keefe and Project Veritas still mess with us, creating their own journalistic momentum. For example, bloggers now offer printed transcripts of the edited video (as if now we have the courtroom record). It's like some sort of perpetual motion machine of misinformation. Let’s take a breath and look at a broader issue.
If seeing is believing, what does it take for you to question what you see?
With digital media now ubiquitous in politics and the news there has never been a greater stake in the power of visual manipulation.
We may have reached the skeptic’s tipping point with photography.
With quick and easy digital manipulation tools, we have become a jaded and skeptical audience. Remember the old term “trick photography”? It's been replaced with the term “photoshopped”, even by people that have never pushed a pixel in their life. The public now knows most photography used in mass media is “trick photography”. But who cares right? Make it pretty = sell more fizzy sexy water.
Here is a faked photo that was widely sent around the internet during the 2004 election.
We still believe in video
We are still are too easily swayed by the power of video. Whether it’s YouTube videos (like popping corn with cell phones or hacking Times Square video screens), reality TV, UFO documentaries, Paranormal Activity style movies or the latest ambush interview on your local TV news, why are we still so gullible? Let’s break this down a bit.Continued on the next page