Blogger wins thumbs-up for exposing BBC's tricks to distort news
Published: Feb 01, 2021 03:50 PM

Photo: Screenshot of Damo Uncle video

A video mocking BBC tricks used to distort news through oblique shooting and post-production has gone viral on Chinese social media and won thumbs-up among Chinese netizens. The blogger who made the video told the Global Times that he hoped foreign media "will report China objectively."  

After the blogger, Damo Uncle, posted the video on Sina Weibo, the hashtag "how to be a good BBC reporter" quickly trended on the platform on Monday.

Video: Courtesy of Damo Uncle

Damo Uncle, who has more than 10 years of experience in video making, told the Global Times that "the original intention was to expose this news production method which spreads disinformation and to help Chinese netizens distinguish the fake from seemingly real."

In the video, the blogger pretends to be a job applicant and promotes himself to the BBC by showing he can make up stories in line with BBC's news principle of results before evidence.  

Damo Uncle then showed how he uses some shots of garbage dumps, burning fires, the gate of an "experimental" high school, a symbol of infectious waste (at an unknown location) and vehicles in a queue to support a narrative of human experiments, virus leaking from labs and traffic jams due to people fleeing their homes. 

The narrative becomes more convincing when the blogger used editing programs to change the lighting of the clips, which he dubbed an "underworld filter."

The video also showed how the blogger communicates with befuddled interviewees and directs them to do and say what the blogger wants. 

The video ends with the sentence "(cameras) are used to record the world. And some people use it to get rid of the panic."

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, some foreign media have been continuously using editing methods to discredit China's anti-epidemic efforts and achievements. "Oblique angles, dimness and jitters are elements their videos include and convey to audiences," Damo Uncle said.

The blogger also said in the video that odd camera angles must be used to implicate the footage is being secretly shot, even if nobody notices it. 

Netizens helped him make the "guide video" even fuller, pointing out the classic trick of pointing the camera at someone's face, prompting the subject to block it with their hands, thus implying that "shooting isn't allowed." 

"Using video making techniques as a tool in the politics of discrediting really insults the art," one Chinese netizen wrote on Weibo. 

Some also noted the video is a strong counterattack against the BBC's recent video series covering Wuhan, Hubei Province where the tricks Damo Uncle outlined can be found.

Damo Uncle also pointed to BBC's distorted reports on Xinjiang and Hong Kong, which use similar tricks to "call white black". 

BBC videos have been found to focus on Hong Kong police officers pointing guns at protesters when the reality was that they were besieged by rioters, or showing a rioter being shot without mentioning the person was trying to rob the police officer of his pistol. 

Damo Uncle said he learned those tricks while applying for a job at the BBC and revealed that his videos made him the target of a cyber manhunt on Facebook and death threats.

"I hope those media outlets can record China truthfully. No need to speak good words, just objectively," he said, adding that he will continue making videos on how foreign media spreads disinformation.