There are many ways to twist the truth when it comes to videotape. Some of it comes by way of a ham-fisted television editor or producer, but another method of deception is to view footage of a crime scene from only one perspective. In other words, it is all about the angles.
The latest case of deceptive crime scene videos is brought to you by NBC Nightly News. Most conservatives are aware the footage of 16-year-old Ma’khia Bryant, who was shot and killed by a police officer, was edited to advance the narrative that racist cops are gunning down innocent blacks at will. The part NBC conveniently left out showed Ms. Bryant about to stab another teenage girl.
Unfortunately, this is not an accident, nor is it new. In 2012, NBC fired a producer for redacting an audio recording of George Zimmerman making a 911 call to police on the night he shot Trayvon Martin. Since then, leftist news organizations have honed their skills and graduated from selectively editing audio to playing judge and jury with the video, too.
CBS News recently joined in the fun. Its news division released police bodycam footage in the shooting of a 13-year-old boy in Chicago. The network footage of this tragedy conveniently left out the part that appeared to show young Adam Toledo with a firearm. Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides noted that the audio was edited as well, leaving out the portion where the policeman implores Toledo to “Drop it. Drop it!” This audio edit was only natural once the news organization decided the public had no right to see the entire incident and determine if the young man had a gun in his hands while fleeing from the police.
Of course, more – so many more – instances of selective editing are designed to promote a point of view instead of telling it like it is. Often, these distortions are political. But when the TV folks play with crime scene footage, that is another situation entirely. Frequently, these falsified videos go viral, and there is a public rush to judgment followed by violence, looting, and all manner of mayhem.
There is a fundamental problem with using crime scene footage to determine what happened in an altercation with law enforcement, even when it is not sliced and diced for spin. Single perspective video can be enormously deceptive. Anyone who has ever watched a video replay review in sports knows this. As the umpires gather their headsets on the field, another team of officials assembles at the replay center in Manhattan. What are they doing? They are viewing multiple camera angles of the same event. Only then can a conclusion be drawn; from behind the plate, it looks like the batter was hit, but the angle from the third-base side shows the ball hit the bat.
As well, the NFL uses multi-perspective cameras all the time. Officials and the TV audience have every vista imaginable available to them. Here’s the ball at the goal line, from above, at field level from the left, and right. Officials generally make the call only after reviewing every angle repeatedly. It is this 360-video view that is central to their decision.
Multi-perspective video is desperately needed and is technologically possible to use at crime scenes. Dashcam footage and bodycam footage should be synced together to provide a better portrait of what went down by whom and how. If millions can be spent on perfecting video technology for the sports fan, why couldn’t some taxpayer dollars be used for something that helps to determine guilt or innocence? Without a multi-angle video view, we should take current on-the-scene videos with the same grain of salt as the network footage.
Those who have worked in the television business know the saying “garbage in, garbage out.” Citizens can and should demand police departments step up their technology to promote a more accurate representation of a crime scene. This will not stop the leftist networks from manipulating video to suit its purposes, but it will make it more challenging for them to pull the wool over the public eye.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.