4 Times News Outlets Mistook Video Game Clips for Real Combat Footage
While various media outlets are usually pretty good at securing legitimate footage for their articles and reports, missteps still occur. There have been multiple instances where footage from video games was mistaken for the real deal, leading it to be published alongside well-researched pieces and, at times, even featured as evidence that an event occurred, even when it didn’t.
The issue isn’t necessarily widespread, but video game clips being labeled as real isn’t a rarity either. With that in mind, here are a few examples of when the “combat footage” used by a news organization was anything but authentic.
A Tribute to a Russian Veteran
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech honoring soldiers who died in Syria, including Senior Lieutenant Alexander Prokhorenko, who sacrificed himself when an air strike he ordered was guaranteed to lead to his own death.
Channel 1, a Russian state media company, produced a clip that featured a scene that was reportedly from a battlefield. But, in fact, the footage was from ArmA, a popular combat simulator video game.
“Extremists” with Chemical Weapons
The Russian Embassy in the UK sent out a tweet declaring that “extremists near Aleppo received several truckloads of chemical ammo.” The post included an image of three trucks that the embassy was treating as real.
However, the image was actually a picture from the Wikipedia entry about the strategy video game Command and Conquer, a fact that was quickly pointed out.
Child Soldiers in Sudan
This time, RT (formerly Russia Today) posted a story where a former child story discussed his experience in Sudan’s civil war. While the ex-child soldier’s recount may have been accurate, some of the footage in the clip clearly was not, as it originated in the video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Gaddafi and the IRA
In September 2011, a documentary that aired on the UK’s ITV channel, called Gaddafi and the IRA, was investigated after footage in the film that showed a helicopter being shot down, labeled as “IRA film 1988,” was determined to be from ArmA 2, a sequel to the game whose footage was used in one of the above-mentioned Russian reports.