The video: Has the Chinese military signed up Tom Cruise? Last week, a Chinese state-TV "news" segment purporting to show a Chinese J-10 fighter jet destroying a U.S. aircraft was identified as a clip from the classic 1986 flick Top Gun — leaving state propagandists red-faced. The "blunder," shown to millions of Chinese viewers on Jan. 23, has since been removed from the channel's website.
The reaction: This isn't the first time China has appropriated "fictional material from the U.S. for use in news," says Josh Chin at The Wall Street Journal. The state-run Xinhua news agency notoriously used a cartoon x-ray image of Homer Simpson's head back in 2007 "to illustrate a story about the discovery of a genetic link to multiple sclerosis." I guess this is what happens, says Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post, "when you feel the need, the need for, uh, footage." Watch a comparison between the two sets of footage here: