Propaganda 2.0 – FLAGging Fake Vids on YouTube

The death of journalistic integrity is not to be mourned.

This(?) morning I read a piece in the local newspaper about propaganda related to the war in Iraq as well as the various military ops carried out by both US and the militant insurgents in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Lebanon (I imagine). While there are a lot of plainly fake videos floating around on YouTube and Google Video, telling the war story from the lens of a camera is a powerful tool no matter whose side of the issue you argue. It changes people’s opinions.

FLAG, for some reason, has became a spec of lost memory in my mind as I last watched it nearly a month ago and I couldn’t quite make the connection this morning. The link, nonetheless, is more than obvious. The one persistent gimmick, a cute trick, is telling us the story behind a military operation behind the various cameras, video screens, and other imaging devices on the scene. Modern warfare, no less, is highly dependent on these devices; the public opinion, too, are swayed more by images over simple words.

As much as I talk about memes and images are powerful tools to communicate large ideas that penetrate barriers to explanation and reason, FLAG is totally a story with that as a premise. If we can swallow the fact that a photo of a flag (or the flag itself) turns a war-torn nation around back on to the path of peace, we can then truly understand the power of these clips of live footage in the minds of those who cannot guard against them.

The sad thing is that even if people use the power of the video unceremoniously to their twisted ends, people do likewise for goodness, win, and profit. What separates a normal cameraman and someone who hax his footage to slant the story one way or another? Perhaps that’s the key? We shouldn’t be so judgmental. We are not there. It is good to aspire to be responsible; and when you manipulate people like that, you suck. Integrity is a personal value to hold, not a soapbox to spit on. Let’s not armchair.

Shirasu was there, and we see what she sees, so props to her. In regards to the production staff of FLAG, the jury is still out there.


2 Responses to “Propaganda 2.0 – FLAGging Fake Vids on YouTube”

  • Michael

    Ah, it’s great to find someone who uses their blog to write opinion pieces rather than episode reviews. It’s so refreshing that I’m going to have to go back and check through your archives, something I rarely do with blogs.

    Anyway, onto the post itself. I think the most important aspect of what you’ve said, and the most applicable to real life, is the fact that there are many people (a vast majority, one might say) who accept things at face value. People as a whole do not have a “filter” of any sort installed in their mind to even attempt to undo the inevitable distortion that life brings upon everything (this includes print, picture, video…any medium by which people communicate “facts”). That’s what really makes FLAG so interesting – the way that people tend to desire to see things in very simple, cut and dry, black and white terms when it’s obvious that there is much more going on behind the scenes.

  • omo

    I’m glad that someone shares my passion about editorializing :)

    As we place greater power in the hands of everyday Joe (such as in a peer-oriented network like YouTube where you and I generate content and moderate what gets posted), as individuals we too need to take up greater responsibilities too. And as you’ve said, it’s not really a “new” situation. It’s just that these days the same old issues are being pitched under a new light, for me.

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