Creating Panic or Fake News With Video

by admin on October 10, 2017

Congressional Television Studio



What the Russians did during the election via social media was child’s play.

Video equals truth; people find excuses to believe it’s true.

There are people who create fake stories for power and fun.

It’s a nightmare for the emergency management and law enforcement communities.


Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr.

Thirty-five years of supervising award-winning media relations, radio and television; over fifty national and regional awards. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Post-Master’s Certificate of Advanced Study, Johns Hopkins University.

Administered the emergency media response to dozens of major events.


We live in a world of fake media and unsubstantiated rumors. It’s easy to do.

The Russians posting on Facebook was child’s play. I can do better than that in minutes.

In my home office, I have a television quality camera, lights, lapel microphones, green screen and editing software on my Macs to create any video I want.

It will look like any news program or set. If I want, I can operate multiple cameras and edit in real time.

I can create a very realistic “news” broadcast and have it up on YouTube in minutes. You won’t be able to tell the difference between my product and a “real” television broadcast.

I can command a national audience in a brief amount of time if I’m quick and use keywords.

Same with audio. I have top quality microphones and editing software. I can sound exactly like CBS radio.

With Internet-based photos or video footage (known as b-roll) or audio available for immediate purchase, I can throw in “clips” that brings stark realism. I can use generic video or audio from previous events; you won’t know the difference.

The bottom line is that I can create panic and misinformation almost instantaneously.

Through photo editing software, I can show President Trump marching through the streets of any American city with the Klu Klux Klan. I can show cops beating children. I can convince you that the dam is about to burst, sending hundreds of thousands of people into a panic.

It will take hours for mainstream media to catch up and debunk. By the time they do, I created five more products. Government won’t be able to catch up.

It’s not that I’m a video or audio expert; anyone can learn how to do this.

There are people who create fake news for power and fun, just because they can. They make no apology for their actions. They believe that if you are stupid enough to fall for their stories, then you deserve deception.

Emergency Management Community

It’s a nightmare for the emergency management and law enforcement communities; someone who spreads falsehoods in a very realistic manner. While television crews and mainstream media are racing to the scene, I can beat them all in a matter of minutes from my home.

When I worked for the United States Senate, we understood that a video of a fake emergency at the Capitol was easy to create.

If the Russians or ISIS or domestic groups really get creative, they can convince anyone of anything. It’s coming. It will be powerful.

War of the Worlds

CBS “Sunday Morning” produced “Casting a Skeptical Eye” stating, “No fooling – it’s April 1st, which means we should be extra skeptical about everything today.”

They discussed the “War of the Worlds” radio presentation in 1938 where producer Orson Welles documented the fictional but news-like landing of Martins landing in New Jersey, specifically Grover’s Mill. People throughout the country went into a panic. Lots of them.

“Sunday Morning” also featured video of a man flying like a bird, which was viewed 6.5 million times and accepted by many as real.

They then featured a discussion with the cast of Myth Busters who discussed the fact that video equals truth and if the video presents a seed of truth, then suddenly people find excuses to believe it’s true.

“War of the Worlds” Will Happen Again

I can create a green screen virtual set (think Sports Center) and add three cameras and a switcher plus decent lighting and sound for approximately $7,000 (not including a computer).

This means that I can go on the Internet with a lifelike television production and create the equivalent of Grover’s Mill all over again.

There were stories on the Internet claiming that the Las Vegas shooter was a liberal anti-Trump zealot or a member is ISIS. What if I did a realistic television interview with a “member” of the FBI making the same claims?

In previous articles, I warned that social media would be the source of massive rumors during an emergency “and” we within government were simply unprepared to analyze, process and respond to all that information. My prediction was correct years ago.

My suggestion that fake video will play a similar role is something to take seriously.

None of us have the funds to access hundreds of thousands of messages on dozens of social sites, provide an analysis and respond appropriately. We can barely keep track of television and radio news outlets.


The next big event will be the first with a video-based social media component. It makes Grover’s Mill look like a quaint misunderstanding.

Too silly to contemplate?  “All across the United States, listeners reacted. Thousands of people called radio stations, police and newspapers. Many in the New England area loaded up their cars and fled their homes. In other areas, people went to churches to pray. People improvised gas masks. Miscarriages and early births were reported. Deaths, too, were reported but never confirmed. Many people were hysterical. They thought the end was near,” War of the Worlds, War of the Worlds.

Success With the Media

For more information on good organizational and media relations see my book, “Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization,” available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon at  Your reviews are appreciated.

See my website at

Contact me at


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: