Monday, August 20, 2007

Thriller Video - Finding the Truth

Scott McLeod from Dangerously Irrelevant posted the most interesting thing that came through my RSS feed today. His post about the Filipino prison inmates doing their Thriller dance routine is a great example of the power of using the "personal media" to tell your side of the story - without needing to bother with the idea of providing equal time to opposing views.

As of this evening, almost 5.5 million people have viewed the original video uploaded to YouTube by Byron F. Garcia, a provincial security consultant with the Filipino prison system at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC). I'll embed the video below, but here's the link to YouTube for more info.

Someone else has posted a rebuttal video that tells a very different story about life inside CPDRC. I'll also embed that video for your comparison. Although this one is labeled "The Truth," you'll probably agree that it is not easy to know for sure where the truth lies in all of this. My gut is telling me that there is more truth in the rebuttal than Mr. Garcia would care to admit.

  • Disturbing item #1: First video has been viewed about 5.43 million times more than the second.
  • Disturbing item #2: First video has been "favorited" by 29,867 YouTube viewers.
  • Disturbing item #3: Even ABC news has an all-positive story about the dancing at CPDRC.
  • Disturbing item #4: Apparently Mr. Garcia is quite a choreographer since his YouTube account currently contains 14 videos, most of which are other inmate dances. I have no doubt that he is also enjoying his new worldwide popularity.

The most "fair and balanced" (I'm beginning to hate that phrase) coverage that I've found so far comes from a new media company where they ask: "with evidence of tattooed concubinage and the unsettling popularity of Gracia’s YouTube, is this really new-age rehabilitation, or age-old exploitation?"

For those of you in education, I hope you can find your own version of a teachable moment in here. Looking past the funny video to an underlying truthiness should be an important info literacy skill for current and future generations.

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