“The first casualty of war is the truth”
The first casualty of war is the truth whether attributed to US politician Senator Hiram Warren Johnson in 1918, or Dr Samuel Johnson in 1758, or even the ancient Greek dramatist Aeschylus around 550 BC, the quote would appear to accurately recognise the challenge facing both sides of the equation during times of crisis.
The current ‘war’ being waged in Ukraine is proving no exception as rumours and conspiracy theories circulate.
Now they have been caught out presenting video of a military parade fly-by as footage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A clip of military planes was shown on BBC Breakfast on 25 February as part of a segment that claimed to show a journey from Kyiv to Poland following the recent invasion of Ukraine. As we’ve said already this particular clip of the military planes does not come from the Russian invasion.
The original clip seen here shows 2020 military parade flypast
A spokesperson for the BBC told Full Fact: “The footage was used once briefly in error and the team have been reminded about verifying images.” Use of the footage was not corrected during that particular segment, but we’ve asked the BBC whether or not an on-air correction was made at any other point. At the time of writing, it has not yet answered.
We wrote about this specific footage on 24 February, as an increasing number of misleading pictures and videos claiming to show the current situation in Ukraine emerged online.
The BBC claimed the footage was ‘used once briefly in error’ and that it had spoken to staff about the importance of checking what they are showing.
Nothing happens by mistake in a newsroom, we all understand modern propaganda. The fact this item has been exposed will have no impact on the viewers that first watched the BBC footage, that arrowhead formation will stick in the mind, just as it was meant to do.
The State propaganda machine
BBC News is no stranger to propaganda or broadcasting false images and footage to create a narrative recently it has been caught out from misrepresenting Jeremy Corbyn and even extending his hat to make it look like a Russian ushanka–hat.
George Orwell said: “useful lies were preferred to harmful truths”. He went further, declaring that history stopped in 1936; after that, there was only propaganda.
This was a characteristic exaggeration but it points to the universality of state deception. The very term Depression aimed to mislead
The BBC was also caught switching footage of Boris Johnson laying a Remembrance Wreath. The BBC twice used footage from the 2016 service instead of 2019 during the morning broadcast on 11 November 2019 when Johnson absent-mindedly heald the wrath upside down.
Anyone could choose to ignore these editorial changes however the fact is we know for certain someone is there within the editing booths of the BBC ready to manipulate and change footage to suit an agenda.