The fog of war is very real. It's pretty much only in Israel, which is covered by more journalists than any other place on earth, that relatively accurate war updates come in real time. Elsewhere, such as in Ukraine, observers must rely on dubious "first-hand accounts" posted to social media.
That's not to say genuine testimonies from people on the ground in Ukraine aren't being shared, and that they shouldn't be taken seriously. But they are unfortunately mingled with a lot of suspect claims, and some outright hoaxes.
And not even the mainstream media with its armies of editors and "fact-checkers" is immune.
Israel's Channel 13 News, for instance, aired an update on the war yesterday that included looped footage showing the destruction wrought on Ukraine by the Russian military onslaught.
הזיית ההזיות. סרטון מתוך ״מלחמת הכוכבים״ נכנס לדיווחים של חדשות 13 מאוקראינה. הסרטון אתמול במהדורה ובהיום שהיה, ואולי בעוד תוכניות. אני צופה פה תחקיר לא פשוט pic.twitter.com/3LF5F8nfGI
— David (Mizrahy) Verthaim (@dverthaim) March 1, 2022
In one of the clips, viewers see what appears to be the remains of an aircraft on a major highway captured by the dashboard camera of a passerby. But if the clip is slowed down just slightly, it becomes clear that the wreckage is that of an Imperial TIE Fighter, and its crew, two Imperial stormtroopers, are waiting patiently next to it for a ride.
The footage, of course, is not from the war in Ukraine, but rather a promotional clip posted online years earlier prior to the release of a Star Wars video game.
It was shared on several social media channels by unscrupulous users purporting to provide updates on the current war. And a mainstream media hungry for sensational footage eagerly grabbed it along with more authentic footage.
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