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Georgia Wags the Dog

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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