Ethics · My opinion

Dumb or Genius?

Journalists simulate “last messages” from Aleppo; is it right to mislead the public to get attention or it doesn’t matter when the outcome is positive?

aleppo-city-map

We all have been watching the horrible war coverage on the Syrian’ war and have been affected by the tragedy in some way. Recently, several videos of people saying their last messages from Aleppo start appearing (watch the video bellow) and have shocked me and the world.

After some research, it was found that the people in the videos are not common people but are activists that have thousands of followers on twitter and publish information about the war and other topics on social media. Their idea was considered a successful PR campaign that reached every corner of the world.

My question is: is it right to mislead the public to get attention? 

Nowadays, our world is full of fake news, wrong motives, and bad intentions. However, war news is something people take it very seriously (at least I do) as it is life treating and it can happen to anyone, anywhere in the world. Some say creating a kind of campaign around life-treating situations to get the right attention was a genius move. What if they didn’t get the right attention? and would make things even worse? Would lying be the correct move?

The Syrian war has shown us that the world does not always say the true, actually sometimes there is no way to know what to believe in, but the conflicts between Russian, USA and Syria are very clear. Can you imagine if the videos would make the situation even worse and the activist ended up dying?

There are many cases of fake news that did not go well such as George W. Bush’s Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and the time Fox News hired a CIA operative who wasn’t a CIA operative and much more.

We all have fallen for fake news, people find it easier to believe in a friend than an expert and that is how rumours start. Propaganda has been part of mainstream media since the beginning of news, lying during the wars has been something like a cliché.

quote-a-lie-told-once-remains-a-lie-but-a-lie-told-a-thousand-times-becomes-the-truth-joseph-goebbels-70-50-03

Fortunately, the activists got the attention they needed, as the news affected the world and the leaders.They got the passage to rescue the people that were in the war zone and were listened by the ONU. A danger and unethical move that got it right and saved lives. 

Do you think it was a dumb or genius move? Please share your opinion bellow…

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13 thoughts on “Dumb or Genius?

  1. Hey Karima. I think your blog post exemplifies what our professional field stands for: Being honest in a crisis situation I am actually writing my dissertation on this topic and the information you shared with us are what my literature review highlighted so far: Propaganda pretty often replace PR practices that stand for truth, ethic and integrity. Great post!

    Mike

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Karima,

    In PR, journalism and in everything really it’s important to be transparent, clear and honest. In my experience the truth always outs. Always.

    When it comes to news I hate being mislead. I am always questioning what is reported and how much of what we see on the news is true. How much of this story do we not really know? What parts are being left out, or manipulated?

    I think misleading the public will never garner favour with them. Anything that endangers life or that could make a situation within a war or life in general worse I think is dumb. There are other ways to raise awareness.

    It’s a very tricky topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rebecca, thank you for your comment. I agree with you, transparency is the key in PR and journalism. It is indeed very tricky topic because we do not know how to answer those questions, but at the same time, they saved the people in Aleppo.

      Thank you,

      Karima

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Karima,

    An interesting read! I think I’m torn as to whether this is a “dumb or genius” move. Why? Well, it’s a genius one because of the way it was presented, we all believed (however unethical this unfortunately is) that they were victims of such an awful current crisis that is going on in the world and we want to help those suffering. However, it’s dumb because did they think about the side effects of this ‘PR stunt’? The danger it could put real life victims in? The deceit people may feel when realising this isn’t actually a genuine cry for help?

    Overall, I believe it had it’s genuine reasons for wanting to help those in danger but could have done more danger by doing so with such unethical and almost irresponsible strategy.

    Please take a look at my post on celebrity privacy and hacking scandals celebrities have faced. Again, a very unethical issue that must be taken into consideration when damaging people’s lives: https://theethicalelephants.wordpress.com/2017/01/05/are-celebrities-entitled-to-privacy-part-2-the-icloud-hollywood-hacking-scandal/

    Thanks,

    Abi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Abi, thank you for your comment. I think that is exactly the point, although it was an unethical move that could go totally wrong it had genuine reasons to help those in need in such an awful time. Luckily, they got it right.
      Thank you for sharing , I will definitely check your blog post.

      Thank you,

      Karima

      Like

  4. Hi Karima, great post, but i disagree slightly with how you presented the subject, non the less it strikes the point, but, we have to have an understanding that under war many of the common civil practises go out the door as quickly as the first shot in the battlefield brings on the second. I have been recently studying war philosophy in my spare time ( both world wars and the cold war to be exact) and we need to understand that people will do whatever they can in order to survive, an example of such i recently saw in the movie Allied, a world war 2 drama about the paranoya that war creates and how that can destroy families. Never the less those activist were not exactly lying, thousands of people were being massacrad in Allepo, they did not lie about that and from what i saw at least one of them was inside Allepo. So this does not account as “fake news”. Maybe a PR stunt, maybe but fake news its not, we are all following the syrian war, we all know Asad’s army and the russian army are bombarding constantly heavily populated areas killing thousands while trying to combat isis and the rebel forces at the same time. So again i say that this does not account as fake news as they did not lie about the reality of Allepo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi “thecommoncriminal”, thank you for your comment and your point of view. I did not think about it in that perspective and I can see that you have a point there. However, I think that the activists shouldn’t mention in the video that they were just common people when they are activists with thousands of followers on twitter. Lying in the media is categorized as “fake news”. It is true that the war is happening and they are killing thousands of people, but what I wanted to say was that they lied to save lives.

      Thank you,
      Karima

      Like

  5. I agree with the other commentors. I think is easier to strike people interest in a matter when the news is something relatable and very sensible – their move was genius in that sense, because we we’re not able to look at them as experts, as activists, as a label, but instead as normal people, just like us, that are prone to suffer any unforseen adversities and atrocities in this case imposed by the various governamental parties , and end up being in this very sad position of war victims. It was a genius move in that sense, however, an unethical one. I hate the ‘blame-game’ and in such complex and sensitive matters I believe there is no judgment to be made. It is unfortunate though, to realise that some people know that we are a society that only reaches out and becomes more conscious of what happens around us when these kind of methodology are applied. It incites many questions in our minds (at least in mine did). Bisous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Yara, thank you for you comment! The “blame-game” it is a horrible path in war and unfortunately Humans have always to find someone to blame. I agree with you, it is sad that in our society there is the need to apply this kind of actions to get our action and help of the world leader. Believe me , in my mind too. Beijinhos.

      Thanks,

      Karima

      Like

  6. Hi Karima,

    Great post, I didn’t know about this, and I am shocked! My gut feeling is that ‘fake news’ just takes away the little transparency news sources have these days. I don’t think I’m alone in the fact that I often second guess things that I read, and no longer take thing at face value. Therefore, I feel that this ‘pr stunt’ whilst having honourable intentions could have gone completely the wrong way and I can’t help but think it was unethical. I know it saved lives but if the news isn’t going to strive to be ethical, then who will be?

    Thanks,

    Laura

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Laura, thank you for your comment! I agree with you , nowadays we have to second guess every news.I think they did not know the outcome of this so they took a big risk , although unethical maybe it wouldn’t have the same effect if they told “who they were”.
      That is true, if news strive as unethical who are we going to believe to report what is happening?

      Thank you,
      Karima

      Like

  7. I understand the reason that this campaign was created, however I don’t think it was right to do this without making it clear to the public who the people in the video are. Given that the war in Syria is a current humanitarian crisis, the creators of this campaign are being extremely irresponsible, they have no way of knowing what the effect of this video could be. I know that playing on peoples emotions is often used in PR and Advertising as it can be very effective however I think this particular campaign is insensitive to the Syrian people, especially those who are from war torn areas. I have a question that may change my opinion on this topic, were any of the messages used in the video from real Syrian people?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Talietha, thank you for your comment! They are activists and one of them argues to be in Syria, but we don’t really know for sure. I do agree with you , that this is a sensitive topic and they should make clear to the public who they were , but would it have the same effect?

      Thank you ,

      Karima

      Like

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