For its "Pledge of Allegiance video" on Tuesday night, the Republican National Convention used stock footage of a staged military funeral, along with actors dressed as soldiers and sailors. CBS has the story:
It was a video that was supposed to elicit soaring patriotism and real emotions about the Pledge of Allegiance. But to do that, it used fake soldiers and a staged military funeral instead of the real thing.
CBS News found that the footage of the 'funeral' and soldiers is what is called 'stock' footage. The soldiers were actors and the funeral scene was from a one-day film shoot, produced in June. No real soldiers were used during production.
The footage, sold by stock-film house Getty Images was produced by a commercial filmmaker in Chicago. Both Getty and the production company, Mr. Big Films, confirmed that the footage was shot on spec and sold to the Republican National Committee.
One of the actors, Perry Denton of Chicago, IL also confirmed that he was hired on a day-rate as an actor for the shoot and told CBS News he was surprised to learn the footage was shown at the convention.
The issue here isn't that the RNC used actors in what might have been a haste. Rather, the underlying problem is that Bush and McCain supporters don't like to deal with the messy reality of warfare that genuine troops bring to the table. That is, they feel compelled to stage a funeral with actors. Because to show a real military funeral--with the heaving chests of a broken family clutching a flag-draped coffin containing the pieces of their dead soldier--might just make the funny hat-clad, stupid button-wearing audience blanch. And that doesn't make for good TV. Plus, people just wouldn't go for it. So they use sanitized actors.
But this is an insult to the military. The use of actors shows an unwillingness to face up to what they've done--to the military and to the nation. And it shows that the only way to keep up support for the war is to hide its reality from the American people.
If I said that something like this surprised me, though, I'd be lying. But then, this is also why troops overseas are donating to Obama at a six to one rate over McCain. They're tired of being treated like this.
Here's the video:
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