In an attempt to deliver news to the masses first, agencies like CNN also carry the responsibility of being accurate. Unfortunately, their story that ran on December 30th did not escape the attention (and subsequent ire) of Fallout 4 fans. In that story, CNN was reporting on how the White House would be retaliating against Russia, mulling over the options of sanctions and even ejecting diplomats from the US. All of those are fine, but it was the beginning of the story that caught the attention of many. A screenshot which was supposed to depict random hacking numbers was actually a lazy screenshot of one of the mini games found in the post-apocalyptic game title, Fallout 4. The screenshot that you see here was carefully pieced together by Reddit user Poofylicious, who then made a sarcastic remark, “According to CNN, Russia used the game Fallout to hack things… Journalism fail.”
The original video clip can be found on CNN’s site, where the questionable footage began after approximately one minute has passed from the beginning of the video. The actual reason as to why CNN decided to make use of this particular video clip remains unknown -- perhaps it was a rushed job, or the person who did it was a Fallout 4 fan who did not think too much into the consequences of such an action, or simply just overlooking the fact that spicing things up using a video game screenshot while banking on the inability of the masses to spot such a mistake. Which all proved to have created a fall out of sorts (pardon the pun) with the masses, eventually.
President-elect Donald Trump shared his two cents’ worth concerning the hacking, “I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think the computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on.”
So far, there has been no notable reaction by Russian hackers, and CNN is not exactly on the money here with Fallout 4 footage being shown in the news clip -- perhaps for dramatization purposes. According to Reddit user BFeely1, “It’s quite standard practice for the news media to demonize text-mode screens. My parents watch the news so religiously that they sometimes consider my use of standard command prompts to be suspicious. This has even resulted in real legal trouble for some people.”
Well, what do you think of the situation? Is this the day that responsible journalism died, or is there no such thing as responsible journalism in the first place? No doubt that news agencies face plenty of pressure when it comes to getting the news out there first, but being first does not necessarily mean it is the most accurate -- or even accurate in the first place. Hopefully this will serve as a powerful lesson and reminder to all of us that we should take the right kind of steps before any news whatsoever is shared or disseminated. Doing so would definitely cut down a whole lot of potential grief and misunderstandings in the future.