Saturday, December 25, 2010

Animated News to the Rescue? No!

What fresh hell is this?

Animated news stories?

The new savior of journalism?

Just because the Taiwanese company Next Media Animation has attracted a lot of eyeballs by turning news stories into cartoons doesn't mean it's journalism.

Movies "based on true stories" are still fictionalized re-imaginings of real events -- and not to be confused with the real thing.

Triply true for these over-the-top Asian renderings of real people in fantasy scenarios.

Despite what this video (below) and accompanying story imply, just because these are situations that weren't captured by cameras or videocameras does not forgive the bizarre distortions of reality under the guise of "news."

Next Media Animation first gained notoriety in the U.S. by animating the supposed scuffle between Tiger Woods and his wife. It depicted her bashing in his car with a golf club -- an incident which both say never happened.

It's gotten much worse since then, with truly cartoonish vignettes of characters ranging from Lindsay Lohan in the slammer to Julian Assange in the sack. To call them journalistically unreliable and unbalanced would be a massive understatement.

This is a black eye for visual journalism. When it comes to depicting truth, and not what Stephen Colbert sarcastically dubbed "truthiness," there is no substitute for cameras and videocameras. Animated news? We're not buying it.

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