Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fake but accurate

At National Review's The Corner, Iain Murray exults--

Readers might remember that after 9/11, the military band at Buckingham Palace broke with tradition and played the Stars and Stripes. Yesterday, as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia arrived to meet Her Majesty the Queen, they played a somewhat different tune to greet the visiting monarch's arrival: Darth Vader's theme music. The video has to be seen to be believed ... More on the report at ConservativeHome

The video seems to come from Newsnight Channel 4 News. The band did play the Star Wars theme1. They also played the Indiana Jones theme. But more importantly, this was their warm-up-the-crowd music before the King arrived. When the King arrived, they played, as one would expect, the Saudi national anthem.

Yet the BBC Channel 4 report appears to have been spliced to have the Darth Vader music playing as he steps out of the car. Watch a different BBC report, where admittedly it's hard to hear the background music with the reporter yakking, but it's not Star Wars. Furthermore, the account from The Times, while revelling in the buffoonery of the ceremony, is quite clear on the sequence --

As the King stepped out of his car they switched to the – mercifully short – Saudi national anthem as the green and white Saudi flag was unfurled atop Horse Guards alongside the Royal Standard.

However since no expensive phone-ins were involved, it's not clear that there's any scandal.

UPDATE: With Andrew Sullivan having linked to the Channel 4 report, titling it "Darth Abdullah", this manufactured sequence seems set for another round of popularity.

1 To be technically correct, they played the Imperial March ("Darth Vader's theme").

FINAL UPDATE: To guard against linkrot, here's an alternative link to the doctored Channel 4 audio and here's a direct link to the BBC video which includes the King walking up the steps with different music, 1m15s in.