At the Crossroads of Media, Culture and Technology

FOX News Caught Using Fake Riot Footage in Russia?

Has Fox News been caught doctoring stories once again? According to a new video circulating online as of yesterday, it appears so. While trying to offer “Fair and Balanced” reporting on the recent riots in Moscow in which some thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest Vladimir Putin’s return to power, the folks at Fox News apparently decided to show viewers footage of the protests. Except the violent, fiery images shown during their broadcast on December 7 were not of Moscow at all but were actually re-purposed video shots from protests in Greece earlier this year.

Throughout much of autumn, near anarchy filled the streets of Athens as that country’s austerity bill as voted upon and photographers/videographers captured lot’s of captivating footage during those melees. It appears the honchos at Fox News thought nobody would notice if they made the protests in Moscow look more violent than they really are. I haven’t seen this anywhere on the New York Times’ Media Decoder or yet, so I’m hesitant to call it 100% true, but the video above doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

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8 Responses to FOX News Caught Using Fake Riot Footage in Russia?

  1. Roger Collier says:

    Fox may not be admitting that they used Greek riot video to portray the protests in the Russia protest story but it seems they did disable the link to the riot video.

    This appears to be the link to the original video they posted in “Featured Videos” on their website.

    The placeholder is still there but the video just comes up as a black box with no controls. You can try it but I couldn’t find any way to get it to play.

    Actual footage of the protests seemed rather tame and orderly in comparison to the Greek footage. There were some arrests in the authentic Russian footage, but no fires or teargas.

    I tried to find more commentary on the “Fake” video switch but it seems that none of the other U.S. networks are mentioning it.

    It looks like they are just covering it up.

  2. Alex Stonehill says:

    Also interesting to note that RT News, the only source thats been reporting this story, is a global news channel run by the Russian government:

    they’ve been accused of acting as a propaganda machine for the Russian ruling party just as Fox News has for the Republicans.

    Apparently the two networks have been squabbling for years.

    If you’re looking for some outside perspective, British paper the Telegraph chimed in Friday:

  3. Russell Houghtaling says:

    While I don’t agree with FOX News’ tactic (if true), I can’t blame them in this media environment.

    Trust is subjective. FOX’s viewership will see this kind of accusation as trumped up at worst, and an honest mistake by FOX at best. The people that watch FOX already trust FOX. Why bother trying, working hard, etc., when you can get the same (or better) ratings and influence by grabbing whatever generic riot footage off the shelf you can find? FOX won’t lose any significant audience over it.

    I’m definitely not saying this is a good thing (it’s not). However, when there are no rules to define what a journalist is and what responsibilities to the public journalists have, we have to expect journalists to look out for their own interests.

    For years, the rule was objectivity. Objectivity yields trust, which yields ratings/readership. But as it turns out, a lot of other things yield ratings as well. Things like footage of riots and slanted political commentary. Ultimately, trust, objectivity and honesty go out the window when there is no monetary of policy motivation, or when something else works better to draw an audience.

    The system is disheartening, but I’m not sure there’s a better one out there. Citizen journalism is no less slanted, it’s slanted in a lot more directions.

    Ultimately, each person just has to decide who they trust – a tall task indeed.

  4. Dora says:

    As a television broadcast journalist for the past ten years, I can tell you that filling up stories with generic images happens often. However, when specifically speaking about a CURRENT event such as a fire, earthquake, or riots, the video MUST be specific to that place and time. Even if you have only a few seconds of video, you find a way of stretching that time. The you repeat it as often as necessary, but you simply don’t replace them with images that have nothing to do with that specific event.

    Would it be ethical to include images of casualties of the Haiti Earthquake (where the casualties were considerably higher than in Chile), when covering the Chile Earthquake? Absolutely not, simply because we’re talking about a similar event in that they were both serious earthquakes, but the aftermath of each presented a completely different reality. In the same way as you wouldn’t want to see “crowd” or “audience” images in a news story covering a current political event, and later discover that those images belong to a debate two years earlier.

    Therefore, in case this specific scenario involving the riots were true, it’s an unacceptable journalism approach.

  5. Meg Brown says:

    Like it or not, the media no longer has a legal obligation to tell the truth. In the mid 90′s two Fox news reporters in Florida investigated the use of Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) in milk cows. There were many proven health concerns with consumers drinking milk containing BGH, yet Florida grocery stores were not making an effort to eliminate it from the shelves. When the reporter, Jane Akre, started airing the findings of her investigation, the biotech company Monsanto reached out to Fox news directly to discuss the damage that could be done if the story aired. Not only did Fox not air the story, but the company didn’t renew the reporters contracts when they refused to slant the story. The reporters took Fox news to court for “news distortion”, but lost. The court court claimed that the FCC policy against falsification of the news does not rise to the level of a “law, rule, or regulation,” it was simply a “policy.” By this definition, the news is simply a form of entertainment and has no obligation to tell the truth.

    It might be unacceptable, but unfortunately it’s legal.

    For more details on the lawsuit, watch The Corporation,

  6. Heather Meier says:

    I understand that there is reason to pad footage at times and sometimes that’s not a problem.
    However, I do grow concerned when it feels like news is made up. Sometimes journalists make mistakes and report the wrong information. I don’t think there’s ever an excuse for knowingly reporting wrong information. I think the long term impact of this behavior is terrifying. In the process, we deny viewers the capability to form their own opinions. While this may strengthen political parties, it weakens a nation.

  7. Linda Jacobson says:

    I know journalism has been going through a metamorphosis, but it is disheartening to read this story. With the freedom to publish at will there is great peril when sources and accompanying media to a story aren’t accurate. Yes mistakes can be made, but I feel they should be acknowledged – this at least engenders sincerity and keeps in the spririt of truthfulness. That said, the times the are a changing. And I suppose if a news agency feels that they can provide a potent, emotional image, albeit a false one, thinking that most of their audience won’t notice I guess I’m not surprised. I think it is disengenous though if that was the intention. I would rather hope that it was an honest mistake and they are working to rectify. Having the integrity to own up and state it was a mistake and then move on I feel would be the best resolution. No matter what, I think journalists and news agencies should bend over backwards to tell the truth. In this day and age when it appears it is legal to lie, telling the truth is a great way to differntiate yourself and build a loyal following. It may not sell papers (or is it ad clicks these days?) but for sure it will win my support.

  8. Pingback: CNN getting high praise for election night coverage - Page 5 - City-Data Forum

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