Upstream from Goebbels


Tiffany Gomas. You know her. But prior to a week ago, you didn’t. She’s the Marketing VP from Dallas who had a meltdown on an American Airlines flight. Her video was everywhere.

What about the two employees at the Stockton 7-11 who pummeled the shoplifter with canes? I spotted the video first at the Daily Mail and have seen it maybe a half dozen times since on other sites. Gosh, they gave that guy some what-for.

Did you see any of the videos of the looting of the Nordstrom’s at the Westfield Topanga Mall in Los Angeles? I know a big deal was made about it – there were clips all over the internet – because several retailers have recently pulled out of the area and this event risks Nordstrom’s doing the same.

How about the videos emerging from Maui? I saw one this morning of a family of seven that – during the fire – pushed out into the water holding onto a paddleboard as a cyclone of dark smoke and embers raged around them. It was harrowing.

Each of these is an example of citizen video journalism at its best. Near real-time, and with street-level perspective, clips like these put us in the moment. With unfiltered video and audio, we’re able to observe and discern the events as they unfold. Almost always, the clips are raw and often there are contributions from several eyewitnesses – each showing a slightly different angle and unique parts of the dialog.

Ordinarily, clips are posted within minutes or hours of the event. Within days, many events garner almost universal awareness and become an indelible part of our collective consciousness and town square discussion. Ms. Gomas’ clip is a case in point.

Whether one has sympathy for a protagonist like Gomas or sees her as a loose screw, when curated on tape, the audience is free to arrive at its own interpretation of what happened. Likewise, whether one supports the kind of vigilante justice dished by the two 7-11 employees or eschews people taking matters into their own hands, when captured and disseminated on video, viewers are able to come to their own conclusions.

With Ring doorbells, CCTV, and a populace armed to the teeth with smartphones, it’s hard to imagine a trip, fall, failure, outburst, or skirmish that isn’t caught on tape. More, given Western individualists obsessed with achieving 15 minutes of fame, it’s also hard to imagine anything of nominal interest not being posted to social media.

So where are the videos from Ukraine? Where are the videos from February 2022? March 2022? April? May? Christmas 2022? Early 2023? Where are the clips of Zhytomyr? Chernihiv? Sumy? Luhansk? Though there have been a handful of video reports provided by major media outlets, their numbers are inexplicably small considering a war that’s been in motion for 750 days. There have to have been countless situations worthy of a citizen journalist reaching into his coat pocket, filming, narrating, and uploading. With over 30 million adults in the country and 92% of them owning cell phones, it defies reason there aren’t tens of thousands of war-related events that have indeed been filmed. Where are they?

Joseph Goebbels, the head of Nazi propaganda, once said, “think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” And he proved a maestro – successfully molding and directing public perception that greased the skids for the unthinkable. His focus – to be clear – was the professional press.

Imagine how effective a government can be at shaping global sentiment if it operates upstream from Goebbels, killing the news stories before they’re given life.

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey

    I’m puzzled. I’ve seen many citizen videos from Ukraine; in fact, when Wagner troops rebelled, I even saw citizen videos from Russia about it. The limiting factor in our seeing them in the US is likely to be the fact that we don’t speak the languages, so we don’t know where to look for them. They come to our attention only when someone links them into our English-speaking web conversation. 

    If the concern is government censorship, I don’t know who would benefit; pro-intervention? Anti-intervention? And how could it even be done at this end? 

    There are strong disagreements about Ukraine on Ricochet and elsewhere, but I haven’t heard lack of information as a factor. 

    • #1
  2. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill

    If you had joined Gab, you would have been exposed to many videos of various places in the Ukraine.

    The mainstream media not so much. When the mainstream media bothers to post such videos they are usually laughable.

    I remember one that showed a village in central Ukraine which had houses that had been hit by the Russian military.

    The people who were portrayed as being the residents of the place obviously were not. They were all cool, calm, collected and in a good mood.

    Having known people here in Calif that show up in my community after a fire storm has ripped through their  community, I can say from experience that survivors of any type of event that leaves people homeless does not also leave each survivor in good cheer, as though re-enacting the Dickens’ tale “A Christmas Carol.” 

    • #2
  3. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill

    Using as a search engine, it took like 45 seconds to discover 11,000 videos which feature some aspect of the Ukrainian military and its attacks on Eastern Ukrainian towns and villages, occurring over the last 10 years.

    Some of the below are from sites slanted toward Russian point of view, others are pure Americana (Newsweek):


    Sept 2022:

    (But aren’t these homes those of residents of the area?)

    Putin also seems to think these are homes of the residents, as reported by Australian version of yahoo. He also claims that white phosphorous is being showered on the people in this village, who would most likely have welcomed the Russian soldiers
    Again from Sept 2022:

    This claim is backed up by Newsweek reporting on the same event:


    Of course the Ukraine’s army has been killing mere civilians in Eastern Ukraine for a long long time. Here is a video from 2014.

    But back to the present day, June 2023: Ukrainian troops re-take Ukrainian village in southern counterattack near Zaporizhzhya

    • #3
  4. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks

    My Twitter feed contains a steady stream of video from the war. It’s in the interests of the Uke gov to post as much military-success videos as possible, of course. The Russians seem to post less,  and tend to repurpose successful efforts. Russian soldiers post a lot of videos complaining about treatment, equipment, and pay, because once the Tsar Putin hears about these things he will be surprised and immediately move to rectify the situation. 

    • #4
  5. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks

    Anyway, I’m not sure of your point – are you saying our media is suppressing videos about the war? Or that it’s not happening? 

    • #5
  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)

    Levi King: Tiffany Gomas.  You know her.  But prior to a week ago, you didn’t.  She’s the Marketing VP from Dallas who had a meltdown on an American Airlines flight.  Her video was everywhere.

    I never heard of this.  So some lady had a meltdown on a plane.  I don’t even see why this would be news.

    The Maui video you reference sounds marginally relevant, though a single vignette of a widespread fire doesn’t really tell us much.  It may have an emotional impact.  It may, or may not, be representative of the event as a whole.

    I suspect that footage of the Ukraine war isn’t very helpful at all.  What would you expect to see?  Some people shooting, or being shot, or explosions?  It’s hard to provide any context for these, and even if someone did so, it wouldn’t necessarily be representative of the war as a whole.

    It would even be hard to tell if such videos were genuine.  Wasn’t there the “Ghost of Kiev,” a phantom Ukrainian fighter that supposedly did well in the early part of the war, which turned out to be a fake?

    As an example, video of the Germans advancing in the Battle of the Bulge might suggest that they were doing well, and about to drive the Allied forces into the sea.  Not so.  That was the last hurrah of the Wehrmacht on the Western Front.

    • #6
  7. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.

    Gary is mostly correct.

    Another factor is how you curate your own media streams.*

    On Twitter and Utube, I stopped opening war clips months ago. I know what happens when a T72 is hit by a Javelin. And most clips are either the same explosion from different angles or let’s see how many tries it takes to drop a grenade down the open hatch of an abandoned BMP. Like they would post a video where they failed.

    * Do not cross them. It would be bad. Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.


    • #7
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