Broadcast television, meet uncanny valley: A Danish television channel says that it accidentally used a video game-generated image of a Middle Eastern city as the backdrop to a news report about Syria.
As least the video game in question takes place in the same region: Developer Ubisoft’s vaguely historical game Assassin’s Creed stars a white-robed executioner who intermittently explores Jerusalem, Acre and Damascus during the Third Crusade. But that’s all the broadcast shares with the actual country it’s referencing, missing the contextual mark by roughly 800 years – that, and it’s a less-than-photorealistic version of medieval Damascus plucked from a five-year-old action/stealth video game.
At least TV2 copped to the goof, acknowledging on Sunday that the Feb. 26 broadcast was in error. According to Times of Israel, TV2 first learned of the mistake after viewers began speculating about its origin online. After investigating, it said the mistake occurred when a TV2 employee searching for an image to use for the broadcast mistook the video game version of Damascus for the actual city.
TV2 head of news Jacob Nybroe added that it’s a “reminder to us all of the importance of verifying the sources of pictures.”