Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ouch. That Didn't Go So Well

Let's take a brief trip to Russia where Pravda is reporting that last night Georgian television did a mock news broadcast of what could happen if the Soviets Russians invaded again, killed the president, panic strikes the capital, etc. etc. As reported, it appears that on Friday, the news channel even seeded web stories about Russian exercises near the border.

Only problem, apparently, was that some people missed the disclaimer at the beginning of the broadcast and thought the country really was under attack. The president's press secretary even had to go to the TV station to reassure people.

Guess they don't read media history too much. Orson Welles found out the hard way in his 1938 radio braodcast of an alien invasion. Mock news reports have a strange way getting people upset.

I take Pravda's reporting with a grain of salt. They have their own agenda. One line in the report especially stinks. In describing the panic, "Viewers in horror called each other and the television studio to learn about what was happening. The number of visits to doctors dramatically increased. There was a panic ...

The number of visits to doctors dramatically increased? I don't know much about Georgian culture, but the idea that a panicked population, on a Saturday night, would turn to the medical community in "dramatic" numbers, and that the press could capture that data point on Sunday morning... Well, sounds like Pravda is doing a little bit of hysterical reporting of their own.

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