I won't comment on the political aspects as to what's going on in Georgia, but I can maybe shed some light on the airing of the wrong video in the
CNN broadcast. First of all I believe it was just a simple mistake. You say...”This is no mistake, the MSM is trying to deceive us, what do you
know?” Sure maybe there are higher ups that are influencing a particular slant on the entire network coverage, but one wrong vid is nothing.
I used to work for the largest international news gathering crew in Canada...CBC. I was a techie working is several different areas and have a full
knowledge of how the gears turn in news gathering and broadcasting.
There are 2 front lines; written editorial/producing and news gathering/ video editing. They run hand in hand. The copy writers, producers and upper
news heads meet and discuss events, what to cover, who will cover what( most peeps have a particular area of expertise ie. Middle east, science and
They break up and go to write/ produce their piece with the help of interns, copy writers, video gathers and video editors. Of course they check in
with the managing editors,higher ups etc. and get the story OK'ed. to broadcast. This all happens quickly and frenetically as the news is always
evolving and there are tight deadlines.....live TV!
Now, news gathering/editing is where the prob happened( I believe). The “news pits” is the rooms you see in the movies. Walls of monitors,
scopes, switchers, audio meters, VTRs(video tape recorders) and all kinds of techie stuff. This is where all the world footage is gathered and then
edited, turned around and broadcasted. My room had 50-60 monitors, 40-50 VTRs. You cannot image the amount of footage that goes through this area in
a 24 hour period. I would constantly recored major news services such as BBC, ITV, Reuters, Al Jezeera, CCTV(China), NHK(Japan) and many more. Wild
feeds came in at any given time. All these feeds send different types of footage. Pre-editied, ready to broadcast stuff( if there is already wrong
info here, than it can get on air if the producer doesn't check it all closely) , NAT sound (natural sound) pieces to be VO'ed to fit the local
region, labeled footage (ie. Gori footage, etc.) and non labeled footage called “B Roll”. This is just random stuff......exterior of building,
burning cars, tanks etc..
This footage is taken by someone usually at intern level and viewed with notes being make. IE. Tape B234587 Gori/Georgia footage, BBC news service.
At timecode 12:34:45:00 Russian tanks. 12: 45:32:05 man crying. 12:55:46:10 exterior of what looks like government building. All this goes into
the database. Producers and video editors use this database when editing the piece. If the original news service has make a mistake, it is unlikely
to got caught unless it is blatantly wrong, ie. Shots of Paris labeled as Bagdad etc.
Ok...into the editing room. The producers copy has been approved. They have gathered tapes(using the database and watching the feeds themselves) to
take to the video editor. The editor( with the producer in the room) starts making a video story. The story is a combination of standups ( reporter
talking at the camera), interviews and VO's/copy. The VO ( voice over) has no footage of it's own but is needed to make the story work and tie it
together. The editor will then look for B roll to show images that go along with the VO. EI. If the VO is talking about babies crying, then the
editor will try and find footage of babies crying. Makes sense right?
This was a simple mistake of the editor and producer looking for footage to show conflict in a particular city, not realizing it was the wrong city,
but knowing it was the right country
. It could even have been mis-labeled by an intern or not labeled at all. This happens ALL THE TIME! Can you
distinguish between these 2 Georgian cities???? I think not.
2 times I came across it just popped into mind( there are many more, but these are good examples). First one....i was editing a piece for remembrance
day about the air war over Europe. The producer brought all her tapes and away we went. During one VO of a veteran talking about being a pilot, we
needed footage of an Allied plane( can't remember which one). We had stock footage labeled Allied planes. Watched the tape and found one amazing
shot of a plane doing twists and turns etc. We both agreed that was the shot that fit exactly with what the the vet was describing. After placing it
in the piece, something didn't sit right with me. Watched it again....and again.....guess what, it was a German plane. The producer didn't even
notice( or even really care). I changed it. This happened under a low pressure environment. The piece didn't have to make the nightly news. Would
I have noticed it if I had 2mins to air??? And if I did, would I have had time to change it??? Probably not.
2 second time that pops to mind ( since this was a CNN mistake as well) was during the Quebec referendum. CNN was using B roll of Toronto (which is
in Ontario, not Quebec) and had the graphic “Montreal” as the city name. These are 2 cities that I would hope a producer in the US would be able
to tell the difference between. So, does it surprise me that CNN couldn't tell the diff between 2 Georgian cities, not at all.
That's a somewhat brief run down on how I believe this happened. Of course there is a lot more to making a news broadcast, but that's the basics.
Rightly or wrongly, this type of thing happens all the time on networks. Just no one really notices at home, did any of you spot the mistake on the
original broadcast?. No conspiracy here in my IMHO.