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Ear to the Ground

Georgia Wags the Dog

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Posted on Mar 14, 2010
Russian Tanks in South Ossetia
AP / Musa Sadulayev

Footage of Russian tanks was used in a fake report that caused panic in Georgia. The photograph above shows Russian tanks rolling through South Ossetia in 2008.

Call it reckless and/or call it propaganda: A Georgian newscast used footage of Russian troops crossing Georgia’s borders in 2008 to present a “simulation” of possible events, including Russian tanks en route to the capital and the killing of the nation’s president.

The fake television report, although labeled a simulation at the outset, caused panic, sending Georgians into the streets and eliciting protest at the private television station that aired the broadcast. —JCL

Al-Jazeera English:

A fake television report of a Russian invasion in Georgia has caused panic, sending worried Georgians rushing into the streets.

The newscast, aired Saturday night on privately owned Imedi television, said Russian tanks were headed for the capital Tbilisi and that Mikheil Saakashvili, the president, had been killed.

Local news agencies said the programme provoked widespread alarm and a record number of calls to emergency services. Multiple incidents of heart attacks and fainting also occurred but officials said on Sunday that no deaths had been reported.

A brief notice before the report said it was a “simulation” of possible events but the report itself appeared genuine and carried no warning it was a fake.

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By John Sullivan, March 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So Georgia has a FOX News, too?

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By Edward Bernays, March 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1938 War of the Worlds. Up next. WWII.

Saakashvili is playing with fire.

It’s a good thing this is a new era. The propaganda was
effective back when TV was high tech, but the world has
clearly changed. People need to talk about this, and
pursue good relations.

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