“This is the dramatic moment a TV reporter was shot by a sniper as she reported live from war-torn Georgia,” according to the Daily Mail, MSNBC’s Clicked, USA Today, the Herald Sun in Australia and a whole host of others.
The problem? None of those media outlets address the possibility of the video being a fake, despite dozens of comments like this:
“Sniper ammo is about 2.3 inches long. A sniper round would have blown her hand off,” (YouTube)
“No mention of how we know it was a russian sniper and not say south ossetian. Anybody know where we can go for facts about this mess?” (Daily Mail)
“if a real sniper rifle with a large calibre bullet went past her arm her arm would of been torn off by the bullets sonic boom,” (Herald Sun)
Another on YouTube: “we don’t see anything really, we see a woman talking then we hear a faint sounds and the camera is being shaken. Then we see the woman in the car with a minor wound(maybe real, maybe not). Any1 saw any actual shooting at all?”
“Russians use the SVD with 7.62 ammo it would have taken that hand right off. Shrapnel or ricochet she wasn’t the target.” (Daily Mail)
Here’s the point: it doesn’t matter whether the video is real or staged. People are increasingly savvy and sceptical: they believe what they want to believe and they know that the first casualty of war is the truth. If you don’t respond to their comments asking about verification, or address the suggested ballistics explanations, then you have no claim to ‘the truth’: to them you’re just another desperate news pimp falling for a gory video.