BBC Fauxaudiography or should that be just Fauxaudio?

BBC Manipulates audio

Audio extracted from the original video  man runs over kids throwing rocks of a collision between stone-throwing boys and an Israeli driver, in Silwan, Jerusalem, was added to a BBC report Palestinian stone-throwers of Silwan by Rupert Wingfield-Hayes with some (sound) editorial changes about a month later.

We are used to charges that photographs are tampered with, commonly by selective cropping but this is the first time I have discovered manipulation of audio files†.

It involves the famous video of a stone thrower hit by the car he was stoning in Silwan‡. That was a while ago but the BBC report was yesterday. Plenty to complain about even without the audio.

The sound of the boy being hit, or more accurately colliding with a car swerving to avoid the stone throwers on the right, is cut right at the spot Rupert Wingfield-Hays describes the car speeding off. The sound editor has cropped out out the clear sounds of rocks hitting the car after the collision. The implication emphasized by the sound background is that this was a hit-and-run not as the video clearly shows a driver fleeing attack.

While not exactly manipulation, Wingfield-Hays’s description of the boys running, stones held high in their hands, suggests they are not throwing them but the audio clearly shows that stones were hitting the car before the accident. They weren’t just gesturing they were attacking.

Listen to the original video with your eyes closed and it will be clear.

Action Item: The BBC complaint procedure is simply Byzantine but try anyway.


Driver flees Silwan attack

Broken windscreen of fleeing driver

Close-up of broken windscreen

Close-up of broken windscreen (sharpened for clarity)

Additional action item. I have tried to download the files and isolate the sound tracks for comparison but unfortunately I don’t have the skills or the software. I will try to enlist some professional help to that end. If you can help here please contact Five minutes for Israel. A visual comparison of both audio tracks would be very informative.
‡ Check out Latma brings you…Pallywood!

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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