Fallout 4 fan spots peculiar stock footage in a CNN Russian hack story

3 Jan 2017

Fallout 4 promotional sign. Image: Lauren Elisabeth/Shutterstock

Fans of the hit post-apocalyptic video game Fallout 4 noticed something all too familiar during a CNN report on the extent of the alleged hacking undertaken by Russia during the US elections.

Since the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the US back in November, the outgoing Barack Obama administration – and its various security agencies – has accused Russia of being behind a series of hacks that influenced its outcome.

In particular, the coverage of these alleged attacks have ramped up significantly, with various TV news outlets and other news media creating a series of reports documenting what is and isn’t known.

Unfortunately, the rapid pace of the modern news cycle – and a difficulty in showing a challenging subject visually – results in video clips being put together that can contain a seemingly unnoticeable mistake.

Unfortunately for CNN, the decision to take footage from the video game Fallout 4 did not go over the heads of a number of its fans following one such recent report.

According to TechSpot, Reddit user Poofylicious noticed a ‘journalism fail’ from a report uploaded last month, which at one point showed what looked like an old-fashioned digital display with an encrypted code.

Developers respond

After spotting the news report, it was noticed that it was the same screen used for a mini-game that requires the player to break into an area by finding the secret password.

Bethesda Game Studios – the developer of the game – has since responded to the news network using its property without permission in good humour, with its president Pete Hines publishing this tweet:

Similarly, the studio’s own channel joined in by posting a mocking tweet that one of the terminals in-game is a teaser for the popular TV show about hacking called Mr Robot.

This isn’t the first time that a video game has incorrectly been used for stock footage during a news segment, with British-based ITV once found to have used footage from a game called Arma 2 during a segment on alleged activities by the IRA.

Fallout 4 promotional sign. Image: Lauren Elisabeth/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic