5 Times the Mass Media Mistook Video Games for Real Events

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Unfortunately, these days mass media is not the most trustworthy source when it comes to news highlighting the events around the world. In desperate attempts to show anything, the news channels use footage that exists only in one world -- in the world of video games.

Sometimes it’s just innocent mistakes, but on other occasions journalists are really trying to turn fake news into a sensation. You need to know about these incidents, so that you pay more attention next time; when you watch more news on TV.

Fallout 4 on CNN

Everybody remembers the recent events surrounding Russian hacking attacks during the presidential elections in the US.

CNN broadcasted a video reel highlighting the events, but in the course of the video you can notice a familiar shot from Fallout 4 -- a command line displayed on one of the game’s monitors.

The Reddit user Poofylicious screencapped the CNN broadcast, and proved that the famous news channel used the footage from the Bethesda’s game in his post here, instead of the actual footage, which they never had in the first place.

Medal of Honor on Iranian TV

Iranian TV decided to make a hero out of a non-existing Hezbollah sniper, who allegedly killed 6 ISIS members in the 2016. It turned out that the news channel showed footage from Medal of Honor (2010).

The best part about the reveal is that you can see symbols appearing on the bottom of the screen -- the same symbols used in Medal of Honor. This indicates that this was indeed just a video game footage, and it had nothing to do with reality.

Arma II on Irish TV

In 2011 ITV showed a documentary film, titled “Gaddafi and the IRA,” depicting alleged connections between the Irish Republican Army and the Libyan dictator. However, one of the editors working on the film decided to include footage of a helicopter attack from ARMA II.

In 2012 the British TV regulator, Ofcom, began an investigation on the matter (read the full report here). It turned out that this was the result of a simple human error. The creators of the documentary film simply used a video from YouTube believing that it was real, but never tried to check if it was fake or not.

Halo on BBC One

In 2012 another British channel, this time BBC One, confused the logo of the United Nations Security Council with the fictional logo of the United Nations Space Command from the Halo series of video games.

The news report commented on the ongoing conflict in Syria and criticized UN for getting involved in it. But since the UNSC doesn’t have an actual logo, it was easy to make such an error. So the editors that prepared the broadcast mistakenly used the logo from Microsoft’s highly successful franchise without knowing this important detail.

GTA IV on Turkish TV

This must be the funniest one. The journalist of the Turkish news channel AHaber tried to reveal the secret passwords of the military coup organizers last year. However, if you look closely -- those are exactly the same cheat codes used in GTA IV.

Many Turkish users on Reddit confirmed that the channel messed up, and it is actually known for faking news in the past as well. AHaber is one of the biggest TV channels in Turkey that somehow makes this story a little bit sad.

The game developers should be proud of their work -- it looks so real at times that even mass media can’t figure out what’s real and what’s not. Everybody remembers the mistake of the Danish news channel from years ago that showed a screenshot from Assassin’s Creed that was supposed to be the Damascus’ skyline.

On the other hand, websites do these kinds of mistakes all the time. For example, Yahoo posting a screenshot from Destiny video game in a scientific article about Saturn’s largest moon; or an LA-based hotel’s website using pictures from GTA, as if they were shots of the real LA. So you can find this kind of thing almost anywhere.

Do you know of any other accidents involving video game footage? Let us know in the comments below.

Published Jan. 22nd 2017


Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin.


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