Democracy is coming to Egypt. To Fox News, this might as well be the apocalypse.
Joking aside, the “apocalypse” is actually, literally what one Fox News website was fretting over recently, asking whether a video of protesters in Egypt unmasked an ethereal harbinger of mankind’s demise.
As a point of reference, lens flare can happen in different ways depending on the type of lighting and camera equipment, but many times it will surface as a series of spots or circles, or an extension or mirroring of a light source in another part of an image or video.
It is not an exotic or rare effect by any means, and can be manipulated by skilled photographers for their own artistic ends. But on Fox Nation yesterday, what was easily explained as lens flare in a video shot amid the Cairo protests became fodder for a sign of the “apocalypse” — which seems to sync up with the network’s overall narrative of late.
Their headline was like something out of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show: “Horseman of Apocalypse Shows up in Cairo?”
“This is an incredible piece of video,” a post with no byline reads. “At the 1:20 mark you clearly see some greenish figure moving through the crowd.
“Between the crowds of protesters and barricades, the video shows a flowing, pale green image that resembles an erect rider atop a horse in Medieval-like barding. The ethereal figure remains for a few moments before floating over protesters’ heads and off the screen.”
Instead of showing a “flowing, pale green image that resembels an erect rider atop a horse,” the video shows a green lens flare bouncing off a burning pile of debris. It moves the same as other light blips on the footage, and floats off as the cameraman moves the lens.
The video apparently came to them by way of Fox and Friends stand-in anchor Clayton Morris.
The same Fox News editorial site mistakenly published a satirical Onion “news” story last November and endured a merciless ribbing on the Internet for their mistake. The editors scrubbed the post and deleted all user comments — many of whom appeared to be replying as if it were a real story.
Commenters on the Fox Nation “apocalypse” post weren’t so easily fooled, but it was impossible to say if the majority were Fox readers or send-overs from social media powerhouse Reddit.com, which promoted the link early Monday.
The Fox News Channel’s various conservative media personalities have been promoting a conspiratorial view of the protests that have gripped the Middle East in recent months, with some hosts alleging that a global Muslim empire has begun to emerge from the unrest, indicating that the West should be fearful of pro-democracy movements.
There was no evidence of any such thing transpiring.
A recent University of Maryland study found that regular Fox News viewers were more likely to believe a number of pervasive falsehoods about the state of American politics and world affairs.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, an unnamed former Fox News employee recently told liberal blog Media Matters that “stuff is just made up” by the network’s employees — a list of individuals that now includes a majority of the leading candidates vying for the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination.
This video is from Euronews, published to YouTube on Feb. 3, 2011.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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