Not that we need to tell you this, but you can’t believe everything you see on television. Even if the television you’re watching is generally considered a reputable source of information. In a recent story about Russian hacking, in which CNN discussed President Barack Obama’s proposed sanctions against the foreign country, as well as ejections of diplomats, the news source used rather questionable imagery. It was a screenshot from the popular action role-playing video game, Fallout 4.
The Bethesda Game Studios production has quite the fan base, and it didn’t take long for a player (and CNN viewer) to realize that the news program had used a video game to illustrate Russian hacking. As Redditor Poofylicious first pointed out on Monday, the image with its green letters against a black screen is obviously taken from Fallout 4, in a part of the game in which players must find specific words in a puzzle in order to “hack” a computer. That, as you may know, has nothing to do with the kind of hacking CNN was reporting on.
And given the dystopian environment in which Fallout 4 is set, the image choice is even more embarrassing for CNN (in the game, computers are not internet connected, as the U.S. doesn’t quite advance that far into the future). Of course, it seems most likely that CNN was simply in search of a stock image to use for a hacking story, and either didn’t realize themselves what they were using, or … just hoped that we wouldn’t.
CNN first aired footage of the so-called hack on December 28, and you can check it out yourself at the one minute mark in the first video found here. The article published online has since had its header image changed, and now bears an image of President Obama, rather than an RPG.