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.
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.
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."
Or as NBC's Matt Lauer kept saying "were lost" in the "era of industrialization." Yeah... speaking of snow-jobs...
No Matt Lauer, the Soviet Union didn't "lose" people or "misplace" them or "forget where they were."
A hardened leftist tyrant who came to power in the 1920's, spent a few years consolidating power into the hands of a very limited few, who also "fundamentally transformed" his nation had those people extradited to regions of Russia that were otherwise uninhabitable, or he had them executed.
People that didn't conform to his ideas, realities, and "facts" were marginalized, isolated, and eventually dealt with.
Evidently that strict fear of shaking the good will or reality of Russia's top leadership still exists.
But is America that far behind them?
We have a media complex that reports the administration's view on almost all things without much variance. The handful of actual outlets that report actual facts that vary from the administration's talking points are isolated and marginalized.
Through the fundamental transformation that has seen a complete dismantling of the private healthcare industry, while simultaneously eroding individual rights of religious practice, and the destruction of an economy encouraging private small business growth--the payroll of government jobs--beholding to the administration and its "great leader" have been the largest sector for jobs growth in six years.
While preaching tolerance to those who do not accept their views, the political, theological, and cultural left are the least tolerant people on the planet.
And while they demand that you yield your beliefs in order to carry favor with them. You must always accept what they believe as absolute truth.
Leaders on the left often struggle with a God complex, one need not doubt that Soviet era authoritarians practiced governance in such a way.
Putin is a former KGB agent and soviet era operative. A believer in centralized control, state-based control over the ways and means of life, not truly accountable to the people, and one that sees his role as vital to the advancement of a state-centric system to "solve" the "problems" his people face. Wildly so does President Obama and his operatives.
They neither feel responsible to tell their people the truth, nor do the people who are their subjects believe such leaders are capable of being told the truth.
This is certainly true about federally controlled healthcare programs that fail on every level. It's true about protecting our ambassadors when under attack by terrorist operatives in the Middle East. And evidently it's true about much smaller things.
Even about things as insignificant as an Olympic snowflake that doesn't quite open.