ntv_newsfake (2004)

video pal 4:3 color stereo running time 6:30
premiere: transmediale 2004 Berlin

still from ‚ntv_newsfake‘ © by Herwig Hoffmann 2004

The ‘ntv_newsfake’ project is a completely computer-designed and implemented newscast. In a sequence of several live reports and studio news, a fictitious terrorist attack on industrial plants in the Rhine harbor in Karlsruhe and the Philippsburg nuclear power plant is reported. Sensational images are delivered, which are downplayed in the rating of the show on sober information and pure facts. Until the last remains open, whether it is a nuclear emergency.

What is true and what is untrue? What is reality? Can this be? News is not really lying.

But ‘ntv_newsfake’ is lying; in which live reports about several catastrophes of apocalyptic proportions. The newscaster calms the viewer, because the official statement excludes any danger to humans and the environment. With the simulation of a news report, the trained visual and listening habits of the audience are misled. In the tradition of Orson Welles radio drama “War of the Worlds”, codes are recombined by taking over and breaking up. The reportage is generally accepted as true, authentic images provide information on several disasters, which are commentated cool, professional and emotionless by a newsreader.

“Dissimulating means not having something you have. To simulate means to have something you do not have. The one refers to a presence, the other to an absence. ” (Jean Baudrillard, Agony of the Real) Simulating means imitating a state through imitation, dissimilating it, disguising it by taking it away. In order to pretend a state to the audience, one imitates it by means of simulation – or one contains information to the audience which describes a state as it actually exists. The fake fictional (computer-generated) live images of burning oil refinery in ‘ntv_newsfake’, in contrast to a real news program, in which by censorship or denial of information, the statement is turned into the opposite – both deceive the viewer.

‘ntv_newsfake’ reveals the pseudo-transparency of the mass media, exposing functional processes in which the medium pretends to be an unfiltered representation of reality, denying any influence on a social consciousness. ‘ntv_newsfake’ is the further development of a new format there, which has a fictional action as a news program to the content. The suspense takes place in the audience, the simulation staged with ‘ntv_newsfake’ expands within its imagination beyond real space through the incomprehensibility of the apocalyptic events.

The CNN Fake, Version 2c, english version for subtitles
(script by Herwig Hoffmann)


Interruption of the current television program. Studios situation of the station n-vt. Spokeswoman in a bright costume. Stock market bar at the bottom of the screen. n-tv typical picture aesthetics. Display of current image content over the blue screen background.

Karin Willmuth: We interrupt our program for a special news bulletin. Today, at 2:30 p.m. the district of Karlsruhe was affected by a number of tremors. Experts registered an earthquake of point six on the Richter scale. The region has previously not been considered at risk. The epicenter of the earthquake is located 30 kilometers north of Karlsruhe. Tremors were also registered in the region of Stuttgart. We have not yet had any news about personal injuries or damage to buildings and are still awaiting information concerning potential damage to the extensive industrial plants in the Karlsruhe region. We will now switch to the speaker of the geophysical institute Dr. Kleist.

The speaker of the geophysical institute Karlsruhe Dr. Ing. Kleist switched on. In the background of Mrs. Willmuth, presenter n-tv a picture of the institute Karlsruhe is faded in, in the left lower edge of the picture a photo of the institute speaker is faded in. It is displayed: “Dr. Kleist, speaker of the geophysical institute Karlsruhe “.

Karin Willmuth: Dr. Kleist, how has the earthquake affected the Karlsruhe area?

Dr. Kleist: (from the off-the-phone connection) Good afternoon Mrs. Willmuth. (break) The quake was clearly noticeable here in a sequence of brief tremors. We assume that the geological phenomenon which happened today was caused by the so-called „Vertikale Krustenbewegungen des Rheinischen Schildes“. By comparison with the Mediterranean countries, however, the frequency of strong earthquakes is relatively small in the South of Germany.

Picture next to the speaker changes, still picture from the Philippsburg nuclear power plant with lettering.

Karin Willmuth: Thank you Dr. Kleist in Karlsruhe. During the last report we have received further news about the Karlsruhe area. In the afternoon, eye-witnesses observed intense smoke development above the cooling towers of the Philippsburg power plant. The nuclear power plant at Philippsburg has repeatedly been in the headlines of the national press in the last years because of a number of incidents. The operator company EnBW has not been available to comment on the recent events. We take you now directly to Martin Ludwig at Philippsburg.

Hard cut. Full video video recording with zoom, bad amateur quality, nuclear power plant Philippsburg, both cooling towers, from a swells black smoke. n-tv / CNN logo with stock market bar.

still from ‚ntv_newsfake‘ © by Herwig Hoffmann 2004

Martin Ludwig (voice-over): (excited voice) This is the scene the inhabitants of Philippsburg near Karlsruhe witnessed today at 1:45 pm. What we see here is the right cooling tower of block II of the nuclear power plant Philippsburg, which is leaking black smoke. The video shots were filmed by a local video amateur. The events here give rise to a number of speculations which the operator of the power plant have so far neither confirmed nor dismissed. Apparently only the local authorities have been informed that there is currently no danger to people and the environment. One can to only speculate as to the nature of the incident, whether it is a fault or a fire. The official statement has ruled out the possibility of an act of terror. Neither the local fire-brigade nor local security forces have been called out. The people of Philippsburg are very worried, it is a deep seated fear and parallels with the terrorist attacks of September 11 will easily come to mind. It is so far not evident whether the smoke which has developed is in any way related to the earthquake registered in the early afternoon today. We will keep you informed with the latest local news about the nuclear power plant Philippsburg. Thank you this is Martin Ludwig reporting live from Phillipsburg, now back to the studio.

Hard cut. Continuous video sequence of Philippsburg reduced laterally in the studio or in the background of the spokeswoman. Then change the sequence map, Karlsruhe ‘with commenting title bar, Karlsruhe at noon today’.

Karin Willmuth: Thank you to Martin Ludwig at Karlsruhe Philippsburg. In the meantime further news has come in. New incidents have been happening in rapid succession. Fire or explosions have been reported at several industrial plants in the harbor area of Karlsruhe. In several parts of the city the power supply and telephone connections are down. We have not obtained any photos yet. It is unclear whether the incidents have been caused by the earthquake, as the tremors were registered later. In a statement issued by the local authorities a terrorist attack has to be ruled out. — (pause) I have just been briefed that the photos from our local correspondent will be available instantly..

The video sequences start in the background. Zoom Full- Screen.

still from ‚ntv_newsfake‘ © by Herwig Hoffmann 2004

Karsten Friedmann: We are here close to the large industrial plants of the harbor in Karlsruhe. What’s happening here is indescribable. The territorial army and the local police have have already cordoned off the area . It is difficult to get a picture of the situation. Following a series of explosions, a part of the oil refinery plants has gone up in flames. At present we have no news about casualties.. The pictures we see now – I don’t know exactly, where this location is – these photographs were taken today 10:30 a.m., that’s all we know. In the meantime only rescue workers have access to this part of the harbor. We can only hope that at present the fires are under control. (telephone connection to the correspondent deteriorates massively and then breaks down completely) We’re awaiting a detailed report from the speaker of the local police …

The video disappears in the picture noise. The speaker turns back to the camera.

Karin Willmuth: … Unfortunately the connection has been disrupted. We are giving you live updates on today’s dramatic events in Karlsruhe, Baden- Württemberg. We will now go back to Philippsburg, where our local correspondent Martin Ludwig is keeping us briefed on the situation. (pause) Mr. Ludwig, what has happened in Philippsburg meanwhile?

still from ‚ntv_newsfake‘ © by Herwig Hoffmann 2004

Still image Philippsburg nuclear power plant, then hard cut on the cooling tower, from which black smoke gushes out. Suddenly the upper part of the tower breaks away in a kind of explosion. There are flying parts to recognize.

Martin Ludwig (voice-over): This is the picture of what happened seven minutes ago. The upper third of the right cooling tower has been blown up. As a result of the explosion, large parts of debris were hurled as far as several hundred meters. It is also obvious that the second cooling tower of block II has been substantially damaged. It is now beyond doubt that a fire is raging in the nuclear power plant Philippsburg. The operating company EnBW has issued a brief statement that they have the situation completely under control. We are currently unable to confirm or disprove the statement. (Connection breaks down)

Hard cut on the speaker in the studio.

Karin Willmuth: We are currently bringing you a live update on today’s dramatic events at Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg. We will keep you briefed on the further course of events. Thank you.


ntv speaker Karin Willmuth – Margit Rosen
geologist Dr. Kleist – Udo Schoen
ntv correspondent Martin Ludwig – Jan Gerbauer
ntv correspondent Karsten Friedmann – Yves Grimmler

director of photography: Mark Teuscher
lights: Oliver Boeg

3D departement:
earthquake simulation sequence – Julia Herzog
nuclear power plant sequences – Andreas Schuster
flight shot sequence – Julia Herzog, Michael Saup
helicopter flight sequence – Malte Paetsch

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