Daily Mail, Australian News Outlet Report Fallout 3 Concept Art as Terrorist Propaganda

By Aaron Linde, May 30, 2008 11:30am PDT A piece of concept art of a decimated Washington, D.C. from Bethesda Softworks post-apocalyptic RPG Fallout 3 (PC, PS3, 360) has been circulated through a handful of news publications, reported as terrorist propaganda after an intelligence contractor said the image was used in al Qaeda-related videos.

The artwork (pictured left) was released as part of Bethesda's early promotional campaigns for Fallout 3, which takes place in and around the Washington, D.C. area decades after a nuclear catastrophe. The image appeared on the Daily Mail's website under the headline "Al-Qaeda's terrifying vision of a devastated America in the wake of a nuclear attack."

"This is the apocalyptic scene terrorists hope to create if they ever get their hands on a nuclear bomb... posted on an Islamic extremists' website yesterday," wrote the Mail's Barry Wigmore.

The image also appeared on the Australian news outlet News.com.au, citing terror watchdog organization SITE Intel as having released the image "which reportedly appeared on an Islamist forum."

Though several members of the press have since pointed out the gaffe, neither the Daily Mail nor News.com.au have updated their stories with corrections or retractions of the claim.

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  • Just left a comment on the story at the Daily Mail site which reads as follows:

    "Hmmm, nowhere do you seem to mention this is actually just a piece of concept art for the highly anticipated video game Fallout3, a role playing game that takes place in a fictional post nuclear war America. I've no doubt that it may have been used on extremest websites along many other "second hand" images but that hardly makes it news, c'mon guys a little research wouldn't have hurt here."

    I got a message explaining that all comments are pre-moderated, it doesn't seem to have made it up.