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      That Kiss Cam Viral Video: Staged or Real?

      May 10, 2013

      I'm sure, by now, you've seen that video of the couple breaking up on the kiss cam during a Fresno Grizzlies minor-league baseball game that went viral yesterday. 

      The video in question shows a woman immediately realizing she and her boyfriend are on kiss cam, but the boyfriend is too busy chatting away on his cell phone. She yanks his arm and shouts at him but he refuses to end what must be the most important phone conversation in history. The kiss cam cuts away from the two, but cuts back to them again with the same results. Finally, the girlfriend can't take it anymore. The final time the kiss cam cuts to them she dumps a giant cup of water on his head, and storms off. Parker, the Fresno Grizzlies mascot, escorts her out.

      Blogs everywhere dropped whatever else they were doing to figure out whether this stunt was real or staged. Journalists like Houston Mitchell of the Los Angeles Times transformed themselves into grown-up versions of Harriet the Spy by questioning the motivation, analyzing moves, and examining details. Mitchell points out this video must be a fake for three reasons:

      “First, the unhappy couple just happens to be the first pair shown on camera, and their reaction is immediate, as if they know they have a story to perform, and can't waste any time. Second, the guy protects his phone from the 'surprise' dumping of the drink on him. Third, the Fresno Grizzlies mascot is right there, waiting to escort the woman away after she dumps the drink.”

      Now that's what I call investigative journalism. Other users commented on the video on various sites and made extremely valid points as well. Many have mentioned that the stadium does not serve water in a soda cup. Brilliant observation. Even more people had something to say about the acting. The Kiss Cam truthers gave some pretty nasty reviews.

      On the other hand, there were believers who found the acting to be more than convincing. The Fresno Grizzlies Facebook page posted the video, and many fans who were there that night commented on the event.

      Valid points as well. She really did look pissed. Cell phones are an addiction. This type of thing totally could have happened for real.

      I was conflicted about this video for hours. All day, thoughts of it were consuming me: Staged or real? Staged or real? Staged or real? I couldn't eat. I couldn't think. Nothing made sense to me anymore. I looked outside my window and watched children playing. Staged or real? I stared at the sky and saw the clouds forming new shapes. Staged or real? A cop pulled me over to give me a speeding ticket. Staged or real? I discovered my pet goldfish Jasper floating lifelessly at the top of his fishbowl. Staged or real?

      This was all becoming too much. I kept refreshing the blogs. Do we know yet? Someone has to know. Huffington Post, NPR, even Mashable didn't know. For my sanity, I needed to take matters into my own hands.

      I made myself an entire pot of coffee, aware it was going to be a long night. It was in the middle of illegally downloading advanced face-recognition software when a thought hit me, “Why don't I call the stadium where the game took place? They might be of some help.” I found the number for the front desk at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno. The receptionist quickly transferred me over to the director of media relations, Chris Kutz.

      I was so nervous my palms were sweating. As soon as he answered my heart sank to my stomach. I didn't know what to say. How do I get the information out of him? What interrogation tactics must I utilized to trick him into telling me the truth? I needed to figure out something quick, but in my nervous panic I blurted out the first question that came to mind. I stupidly asked him straight off the bat if the video was a stunt, and he replied that it was. He immediately explained everything, “That night we had a bigger crowd so we wanted to do something special and different.” He then revealed to me that this so-called couple were in fact two promotional team members. “It went over really well so we decided to post it. The crowd really enjoyed it.”

      That was it. Just like that I knew. As soon as I got off the phone I let out a giant sigh of relief. I can finally be myself again. No longer is my mind plagued over how authentic a video created by a minor league baseball's promotional team is. We can all rest easy tonight now that we know the truth: staged. All staged. 

      @JustAboutGlad

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      Topics: Fresno Grizzlies, Kiss Cam, faking a viral video, investigative journalism

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