MSNBC ‘Military Analyst’ Mistakes Video Game Clip for War in Ukraine

Four-star general thought video game clip showed real war footage.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Barry McCaffery, a 79-year-old retired four-star general, posted a video game clip to Twitter, claiming it was real-life war footage from Ukraine, according to The Post Millennial.
  • McCaffery had stated in the post that he thought the clip showed a “display of strength” by Ukraine’s air defense before realizing he made a mistake and deleting the tweet.
  • The original video is titled, “Russian MiG-29’s Get Shot Down By Air Defense System | Arma 3 #Shorts #Airdefense #Arma3,” and can be found in YouTube’s “shorts” section.
  • Released September 2013, Arma 3 is an open-world military game, advertised as an experience in “true combat gameplay.”
  • McCaffery’s original tweet was removed after Benny Johnson, a conservative personality, highlighted the error and noted the “misinformation” surrounding the war in Ukraine.
WHAT THE CLAIM INCLUDED:
  • In the since-deleted tweet, McCaffery stated, “Russian aircraft getting nailed by UKR missile defense. Russians are losing large numbers of attack aircraft. UKR air defense becoming formidable.”
  • The video shows two in-game jets being shot down by an air defense system arranged on the ground.
BACKGROUND:
  • Max Boot, General McCaffrey’s Council on Foreign Relations colleague and columnist for The Washington Post, also appeared to have briefly retweeted the mistaken war footage.
  • Other incidences of video game clips used as Ukraine war footage have also been reported, most notably, the “Ghost of Kyiv,” a fictitious pilot whose footage derived from a battlefield game known as Digital Combat Simulator.
  • Popular social media platform, TikTok, has also shared numerous video clips and livestreams of supposed war footage that have since been marked as false.