Monday, November 19, 2007


“We don’t believe viewers were materially misled,” claimed the BBC last week in its apology for adding sound effects of babies crying to silent footage of quintuplets in an Oxford hospital. “We received the film without sound and on reflection we should have kept it that way.”

This is, however, far from the only time that the corporation’s news department has “improved” upon reality for viewers. Footage of the first day of the Iraq war on March 20 2003, at the height of Donald Rumsfeld’s shock and awe campaign, was tidied up so that viewers of the Six O’Clock News could experience the sound of explosions at the same time as the blooming flames – despite the fact that the footage was filmed from several miles away, which results in sound and vision being out of sync. “The BBC doesn’t feel there is anything untoward in this practice as the actual sound is still being used in the reports,” concerned viewers were told.

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