BBC News Propaganda: The Art of Presenting Black as White

On May 9, 2014, BBC published a news segment on its website entitled “Ukraine: ‘Blood bath’ in Mariupol“, which purported to inform its viewers about the day’s events in Mariupol, Ukraine.  On that day, at least seven people were killed and 39 injured when Ukraine’s haphazard paramilitary “National Guard” attacked, first, an interior ministry building occupied by police who had refused Kiev’s orders to block local protesters from entering the city council building and, later, protesters in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Fraud (and much “Western” media propaganda is simply fraud) comes in two major flavors:  fraud by commission, and fraud by omission (the favored method for “Western” mass media, as it provides ample room for plausible deniability of ill intent).  In fraud by commission, a statement known to be false is made.  In fraud by omission, a true statement is made about an event, but the statement knowingly omits crucial context which, if known along with the given statement, would materially change a reasonable person’s understanding of that statement.

In this short news segment, BBC committed fraud by omission.

The relevant portion of the BBC news segment, which can also be viewed on YouTube, has the following narrative:

Video which the BBC believes shows the Ukrainian troops fighting a pitched battle with pro-Russian separatists in the center of Mariupol.

Accompanying footage shows Ukraine National Guard troops attacking a police station, followed by a clip of an activist shooting at some troops as they moved through the city.

Unfortunately for the sake of truth, the scene of the activist shooting at National Guard troops was meant to leave the viewer with the impression that “pro-Russian separatists” were firing at legitimate government troops in a “pitched battle”.

However, this impression is almost the opposite of the reality.  Fortunately in this case, at least three different long videos have surfaced that reveal what truly happened that day.  Indeed, one of them is the very video from which the BBC extracted its short clip.

To demonstrate the BBC’s blatant propaganda and deception, the accompanying video compares the BBC clip to these three much longer video clips (including the source video from which the BBC excerpted its clip).  These three videos show, from different perspectives, the events in the seconds before and after the “BBC shooter” clip:

  • A solider shot and wounded two men about 20 yards from the nearest troops. One was on his knees with hands in the air, holding up his ID; the other, next to him, was dressed in a suit and was also holding up his ID.
  • The same soldier shot and severely wounded a photojournalist on assignment to RT, a leading Russian international news network,
  • Moments later a soldier shot a man standing calmly in a crosswalk on the street, at least 40 yards from the nearest soldier.
  • The crowd became very angry, and one amongst them pulled out his firearm and shot at the soldier responsible for shooting (at least) the first three men.  This is the only part of the clip used by the BBC.
  • Moments later a soldier shot a young man who in anger attempted to toss a small chair at the retreating soldiers (though they were clearly in no danger).
  • Moments later a bystander is killed by a soldier when he is shot in the back of his head.

What is particularly appalling about the BBC’s “selective excerpt” is that moments before the clip shown by the BBC, the video from which the BBC cut its excerpt shows these National Guard troops shooting an unarmed photojournalist working for an international news network, which shooting did not even merit comment by the BBC.

Recall, when watching the video below, that the BBC claimed it showed a “pitched battle” between Ukrainian troops and “pro-Russian separatists” (how could the BBC possibly know the political views of the lone shooter, as many citizens in Mariupol favor a federalized Ukraine over Russian annexation, and others simply do not approve of military forces storming their city – indeed he may have been an off-duty policeman who had been under fire from the troops earlier in the day at the Interior Ministry Building) is a third form of propaganda:  presenting rumors, opinion and speculation as facts.

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