On December 26 the UK Independent revealed that five people had been arrested in Egypt for faking footage of civilian suffering in east Aleppo. The Indy commented:
The videographer, his assistants and the parents of two children who appear in the footage were detained after police managed to trail the would-be camera crew to a building site awaiting demolition, a statement on Monday said.
The team reportedly admitted they had planned to distribute their work on social media, pretending it showed scenes of the injured and destruction in Aleppo, the embattled northern Syrian city which has just fallen back under government control after four years of fighting between the regime and Sunni rebels.
The footage in question was widely discussed in non-western outlets. According to Sputnik:
According to the Ministry, the police witnessed the shooting process, which was taking place near the vestiges of a building destroyed as illegal under the decision of the local authorities. A girl standing in a white dress covered in “blood” that later proved to be paint drew attention of a police officer driving by. The girl held a teddy bear covered in the same “blood” and had her arm “bandaged”.
The images are indeed excruciatingly amateurish. The “blood” is too clearly paint. The teddy bear is mawkish overkill. The location too clearly a building site or something similar.
It couldn’t fool us for a moment. Could it?
But more on that later.
Fakery is, of course, a very zeitgeisty issue, because “fake news” has been discovered by the corporate media. The EU is very worried about it apparently. Germany is so concerned it’s setting up a “specialist centre” to combat all the untrue things being said by people like us.
That’s a “specialist centre” you understand – not (and we have to make this very clear) a Ministry of Enlightenment & Propaganda, or anything at all resembling anything Goebbels may have created back in the bad old days. Goebbels was just doing propaganda. Merkel is doing truth. Big diff there.
Curious that the state and corporate media’s new dread of fake news doesn’t extend to self-policing or questioning the news feeds issued by their own patrons is it not?
No, of course it isn’t. And anyone who is surprised has really not been paying attention. Endless promo reels of official-narrative-endorsement is now a majority of mass media output, and not just on news outlets but in movies and fiction. Since Obama took office and the “Left” stopped even pretending to offer a reality check, an entirely fake recent history has been created, and a degree of estrangement from truth exists within the heart of our media and intelligentsia not seen since the days of Stalinism. The entirety of the class that traditionally offers limited critique of the power structure is now subsumed in a cultist and delusional thinking that makes them the slaves and endorsers of that power structure.
Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes embodies this institutional malaise perfectly. Listen to it and despair. In her rictus-smiling circle the war criminals Obama and Clinton are angels of peace and progress, the foreign wars and dronings aren’t happening, the murders and brutalisations aren’t happening, the dangerous persecution of Russia and concomitant risk of nuclear war isn’t happening, the fragmentation of American society through poverty isn’t happening. In her circle only Trump is happening; the single threat to the Progressive Utopia they believe they are inhabiting.
The Hollywood and media elites really believe this and view those of us who don’t as dangerous heretics who need to be controlled. Screaming “fake news” at any fact they can’t bear to believe is just Donald Sutherland pointing and howling in the closing shot of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
In recent weeks the sense of desperate fantasy is increasing exponentially as this cultist belief system is colliding more and more forcibly with the evidence for its own falseness. The “news” is a roll-out of sketchy dreamscapes, so poorly developed and internally inconsistent they collapse at the slightest interrogation only to be replaced by more of the same. Official “reality” is a thin translucent mesh of empty words designed to remain cohesive only for the lifetime of a hashtag.
The solution to the crumbling of their credibility is to up the pace. Just keep the rollout fast and furious so your audience has no time to question or adjust. Look over here…sad pictures of sad people in some place of strategic importance to neocon interests. Look over there …horrifying images of the latest “terror attack!” Look this way…nasty people being mean to nice people. That’s dreadful, right? Share it. Deplore it. Be shocked. Be upset. Look at the pain. Look at the blood. LOOK AT THE BLOOD!
When the entire fabric of our official reality is based on lies…why should we assume the blood is always true?
Let’s take another look at this picture:
Suppose instead of being presented to us as a proven and clumsy fake this image had been in the Indy or on our Facebook feed as a genuine example of child-suffering? How would that red paint look then? And even if we felt a tinge of doubt about that, how many of us would have the courage/crassness to see this on FB and comment “nah – that’s not blood, kid’s just an actor”?
And how would we react to anyone who did have that courage/crassness?
I wonder how many times a day we unwittingly or inattentively endorse some sort of fakery? If the image presented to us appeals to our sense of justice or just seems too heartbreaking to question we’ll probably look no further, share it, add an outraged comment and pass it on. We’ve just been manipulated and won’t even know.
In a fake narrative fake blood might be better than real blood because it can appear wherever you want it to and be wiped away without consequence when its fifteen minutes are over. Disasters and death that can be manufactured in a make-up trailer might be a better option than the real thing, with no inconvenient victims hating and suing you.
Can we assume every image of a bleeding and dusty child is the real deal simply because the Indy didn’t tell us otherwise? And if we refuse to volunteer that act of faith, what do we do?