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MSNBC contributor Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star general, shared a video Monday of what he appeared to think was a Russian plane being shot down by Ukraine, but deleted the tweet after being informed it occurred in an animated video game.
According to images of the original tweet, McCaffrey tweeted an animated image from the video game “Arma 3.”
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McCaffrey wrote in the since-deleted tweet, “Russian aircraft getting nailed by UKR missile defense. Russians are losing large numbers of attack aircraft. UKR air defense becoming formidable,” to accompany the animated image from the video game.
One Twitter user informed the MSNBC contributor that the clip was from a “combat sim” and “what you speak of is actually happening. But this not footage of such action,” to which McCaffrey simply responded, “Ok,” and deleted the original tweet.
MSNBC and McCaffrey did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
National Journalism Center program director Becket Adams is among the critics who observed the gaffe and expressed concern that a decorated general could make such a mistake.
“MSNBC/NBC analyst and retired four-star U.S. general sharing video game footage, claiming it shows real-life combat in Ukraine,” Adams wrote to caption an image of the original tweet.
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“I, uh, have some concerns. Of all people, you’d think a retired general with four combat tours and three purple hearts under his belt would have *some* idea regarding what this stuff really looks like,” Adams added. “The video was clearly animated.”
Arma videogames allow players to experience “true combat gameplay in a military sandbox offering a fun, authentic, and rewarding mil-sim experience,” according to its Twitter bio.