The British TV network ITV ran a documentary Monday night by the title of "Exposure—Gaddafi and the IRA" which a TV guide entry described in this way: "Gaddafi gave the IRA enough weapons to turn a militia into an army. Exposure examines his support for Republican terrorists and investigates the continuing danger of his legacy."
During the documentary, says an article at Digital Spy, a video segment purported to show the IRA firing upon and shooting down a British military helicopter in 1988. Unfortunately, the video used was from a fan-made video of the Bohemia Interactive-developed PC game Arma 2.
ITV apologized for the mistake and put it down to "human error." I suspect that someone took something off YouTube, where many of these Arma 2, as well as IRA-related, videos can be found.
Digital Spy quoted, from an article at the Web site Spong, Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel as saying:
"It is very weird to see our game used this way, especially considering the journalists were simply unable to tell the difference between reality and game footage and described a short film clearly made using our game Arma 2 with what they call real IRA footage from 1988."
Spanel also said:
"On a somewhat more positive note, we consider this as a bizarre appreciation of the level of realism incorporated into our games."
The publicity will probably help Arma 2 game sales a bit as well.
For those interested, contemporary news footage involving a 1990 IRA attack against a British military helicopter can be found here, as well as the 1988 attack ITV was trying to depict footage here. The game video ITV used is here. As you can see, the production values in the game video are a lot better than the 1990s-era videos, which should have probably been a tip-off.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.