Why Netflix Is Facing Backlash For Its ‘Harry & Meghan’ Trailer

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle continue their fight against lies, critics and journalists are calling out Netflix for the latest trailer used to promote the couple’s upcoming documentary, “Harry and Meghan.”

The official trailer of the six-part series, released on Monday, includes roll footage and photos from events outside the couple, as the video aims to show the couple’s fight with the news.

Several media outlets pointed out that some of the videos included in the one-minute clip could be seen as misleading.

One roll seems to come from the 2011 premiere of the film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”, while the other clip shows a test show about the model Katie Price that was held last year. Another segment of the video shows a group of photographers and reporters covering ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in 2019.

And another seemingly creepy photo of the couple, also featured in the trailer, was taken by an accredited media representative who was on the couple’s trip to Africa in 2019.

“This photo used by @Netflix with Harry and Meghan to suggest that going to the press is a complete trip,” royal reporter Robert Jobson wrote on Monday. “It was taken from an approved well at Archbishop Tutu’s home in Cape Town. Only three people were in approved status. H&M accepted the position. I was there.”

The addition of the photo was a “factual error,” Jobson added.

“We were dealing with official visits where they had taxpayer-funded security and all the trappings,” he said. This is just stupid. This palace was not part of the ‘set up.’ There is no conspiracy here, lies and misuse of photos taken from lakes. ”

Kensington Palace had no comment on the trailer when reached by HuffPost on Tuesday, while Harry and Meghan’s Archewell organization declined requests for comment from Netflix. Giant did not return a request for comment.

T. Makana Chock, the David J. Levidow professor of communication at Syracuse University, spoke to HuffPost about how the trailer might create the wrong impression.

Chock has conducted internationally recognized research on media psychology and persuasive media messages, among other topics.

Hello Can you tell me about your job and what you specialize in?

Chock: I’m a communications professor. I study media psychology, which is how news messages, persuasive or other informative messages, affect the audience and how they process those messages – but looking at different genres, including traditional television and social media.

What would a persuasive message look like in the media? What are some signs that something is trying to influence our opinion?

That’s a big question. I would say some signs are: Is the person you are presenting, or the message you are presenting, a certain idea that will require you to form an opinion or change or develop an attitude about something?

Right now, I’m focused on the “Harry & Meghan” documentary that comes out tomorrow. What do you think of the trailer? Are you using persuasive messages? Is this normal?

Well, one of the things that I see in this, and I looked at the trailer and then I looked at some of the comments and protests and the response from the Netflix brand, is you look at the kind of conflict between entertainment and journalistic ethics, related to persuasive messages.

So, from an entertainment point of view, Netflix docuseries said it is common to use stock images to create mood or create a visual impression. And for fun, that sometimes is.

In journalism, you don’t do that. It is a serious violation to display images that will create or influence an audience in an inaccurate or misused or misrepresented manner. And so this becomes a question. Will this Netflix series be considered true storytelling or fictional entertainment? Make a little trouble.

I think the trailer is clearly trying to persuade the audience to watch the series. And creating a way to tell a story. So that’s the purpose of the trailer and the series, I guess, to want to give that impression.

But from a journalistic standpoint, if you look at it, honestly, I think it was kind of lazy. And it raises doubts about the credibility of the report that need not exist. For example, we know that Harry and Meghan are hounded by the media and followed by the paparazzi. I don’t think there was much discussion. So somewhere in there, there must be clips and pictures of the paparazzi following Harry and Meghan that are accurate pictures. And yet they choose to use images from other situations, other events, which are completely out of context. And it wasn’t necessary.

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It seems like one surefire way to avoid criticism would be, as you say, to use something from the couple’s hundreds of thousands of hours of camera footage.

You don’t need to use pictures of Harry Potter to tell people that Harry and Meghan are being hounded by the media. They were.

As a royal reporter explained in the “Harry & Meghan” trailer, you see the camera lens looking out the window where it gives the impression that Harry and Meghan are being followed. And a royal reporter explained that this was a palace-cleared press opportunity. So showing the footage that the media was allowed to access at the time was another part of the trailer that stood out to me.

I believe this kind of gave some color or emphasis to the concerns, which were, again, valid concerns that Harry said he had about his family’s safety. And again, these are valid concerns, and there are real risks involved. But they used the image to enhance this, to make this kind of impact. Again, was it necessary? There are other ways to do this. Have you used these types of creative images to create this type of message?

I don’t know what the series will be like. Also, it’s the ethics of journalism versus the ethics of entertainment. And the entertainment story, you have certain rules and things you do, one is to entertain the audience, to create very clear images, to create attention-getting, and to do these types of things in terms of production values. But if you’re telling a real-life story that people will treat as true, there’s a high expectation of credibility that will be placed on that kind of storytelling.

One thing that got me thinking was “Crown,” which is a historical drama. I go back and forth when people speak out and ask for a disclaimer. What I have found when I talk to people because of my work is that this is the source of other people’s royal news.

Photos of the couple are featured in the trailer for their upcoming Netflix series.
Photos of the couple are featured in the trailer for their upcoming Netflix series.

“The Crown” is clearly entertainment. It tells a story about a family, but somehow, the labeling is very clear. This is a show, a retelling, and so on. And while this is supposed to be members of the royal family telling their story or their point of view. So I think it has a different meaning. But the audience may not see that difference.

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Because you are right, audiences watch “The Crown” and think about it as if it were real, as if it were a movie. And respond and respond to the characters and everything else as if this were real. They may not make the distinction between the entertainment aspects of “The Crown,” which is a short form of storytelling, and what is supposed to be a first-person or first-person view of the royal family.

Back to the trailer ― do you know this use of b-roll footage, zooming in on other locations, is this standard or common in other trailers?

Not in journalism. You can get into big trouble. And I think it depends a lot. So let’s say you were making a trailer for “The Crown.” And put pictures of the royal wedding or anything, except for the “Crown,” which is mixed and mixed with reality shows. That can be used as a way to establish or add legitimacy to the story. Or you use actual cut-out images. So I would say it also depends. If you’re making a fictional story about the president of the United States, you can use images of the real-life White House and aspects of it and the people it meets in person, whether it’s in production or pricing. You can see that it is a type of legend, it can be used for stock images. It is not used in news or reports.

I don’t think “Frontline” or a place like that would use pictures that were wrongly labeled or especially things that were too far. I mean, if there is a human situation, you use pictures that match the context and the voiceover and the pictures don’t match, but the pictures match, they make sense. What do they have, the Michael Cohen case there? And it’s not just a case of OK voiceover audio, and the actual images don’t match up well. They brought pictures that had nothing to do with Harry and Meghan.

Is there anything else you think our listeners or listeners should know before this series?

Be aware and be aware of media consumers. Look at the truth. And I honestly don’t know what’s going to be in it, so I always recommend fact-checking. Snopes is a good site for articles and such.

This interview has been slightly shortened and edited for clarity.


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