Wednesday August 18, 2010

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Well, it had to happen. It’s awfully hard to demonize a suspect accused of a crime when you’re left strictly with the power of words, and the news media, unfortunately, does often see its role as demonizing the accused. (How else would people know how bad they are?) Dropping scare quotes around when referring to the catchy title pinned on the person who hasn’t been convicted of anything only goes so far, which is probably why Next Media Animation, out of Taiwan, is so eager to expand to Western markets (and, of course, why Western markets are so eager to do business with Next Media).

We only really connect with the victims in a case like this when we can see the face of the accused perp actually doing the deed — and if poorly-crafted CGI animation is the only way to do it, well, that’ll have to be close enough. Next Media prides itself on a hours-long turnaround from story’s report to animated re-enactment of what happened, and that allows for even less time on fact-checking. They didn’t get around to a video about Keith Johnson before the charges were dropped, apparently, but it’ll probably happen soon — when you start running depictions of legally innocent people doing things they’ve so far only been accused of, eventually you’ll make one of a factually innocent person doing that thing, and the Western companies like the AP and the BBC that are so stoked to be using their services are going to have some ‘splaining to do.

Or maybe they’ll just go with it, and who cares if the person in the animation has to live with a depiction of him or herself committing something they didn’t do airing like it’s news. They’re in this to “make deadlines, not art”, according to the Wall Street Journal, after all.

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