Kevin McCullough

The entire world saw it happen. The entire world minus Vladimir Putin that is.

His television feed showed something different than what actually happened on the first night at this week's Winter Olympic's opening ceremonies.

If you missed it, the producers had designed five floating snowflakes that were intended to first open into independent rings and then merge into the five rings composing the Olympic signature logo. It was designed to work properly. In rehearsal it did work properly. The producers video-taped the rehearsal just so that they would be able to review the program and make the final adjustments.

Turns out that footage proved helpful.

In the actual opening ceremonies, NBC beamed the actual happenings, to the watching global audience. The top right ring--ironically--normally colored red (the color synonymous in Russia's history with tight-fisted dictatorial control)--failed to open. The snowflake remained a snowflake and Russia was embarrassed on the global television stage.

 photo McCulloughPhoto1_zpsa0ddcb58.png

Vladimir Putin, however, had a different screen showing him a fully formed Olympic sign with the footage being fed from the rehearsal footage to his private suite.

 photo McCulloughPhoto2_zps6d07bf83.png

In the age of modern media, it wasn't even 24 hours before we knew that Putin had been snowed. And the producers have since confessed to sending the rehearsal footage to the Russian feed the second they realized the malfunction was occurring in the Olympic stadium.

The obvious questions come to mind, "Why did they send the altered feed to Putin's suite? Why did they fear Putin would see the actual truth? And what did they fear would happen if he did?"

The idea in the modern era, that members of a state run media group would live in fear for their life or livelihood because of something that could easily be a mechanical error harkens us back to Cold War era Soviet stories of people who merely "disappeared."