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X Marks the Vice President


What's CNN been up to? I blogged about it, here.

Looks like the same kind of tricks Paul caught them at last year.

Video, here. But, you see guys, it was just a "technological malfunction," according to CNN. Funny how those technological malfunctions at CNN never include words like "daffodil" and pictures of fluffy bunnies super-imposed over administration officials.

Update 11:48 p.m.: Jeff Harrell has an analysis of and questions about the video linked here. He's written The Political Teen for clarification, but hasn't heard back yet. More when I hear it. I'm no expert on the techie aspects of this, so maybe one of the boys can shed some light on that.

Update 12:57 a.m.: More from Michelle Malkin, including contact info for CNN.

Update in the a.m.: The Political Teen follows up on the video clip he posted, and another blogger defends the clip.

Michelle Malkin has much more, including an e-mail from a TV guy who thinks it was a glitch.

But Drudge has an interesting update this morning. CNN has started an investigation and is taking the incident seriously. Developing, as they say...

Kevin adds: CNN employees had a tough time restraining their glee over the symbolism of the fiasco. We've got tape of one such call here. It's not to be missed...


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference X Marks the Vice President:

» Don Surber linked with CNN X's Out Cheney

» Stop The ACLU linked with CNN Puts Out Subliminal Messages

» Keith D. Milby :: blog linked with CNN Mark's The Vice Pres with an X


» Theodore's World linked with Hey! CNN You Can't Handle The Truth!

» Donkey Stomp linked with CNN Adds Effects to Cheney Speech

» Theodore's World linked with Hey! CNN You Can't Handle The Truth!

» Bring It On linked with Seriously, what's the big deal?

» Suitably Flip linked with X Marks the Bias

» A Blog For All linked with Petty Partisan Pathologies

» The Heretik linked with SLIME TIME NEWS

» Point Five linked with CNN Vigorously Defends Cheney X-ing

» Conservative Outpost linked with Just call him "Cheney X"

» Gop and the City linked with X Blocks O

» The Right Nation linked with Lefty Glitches

» ReidBlog linked with Cheney X

» Gina Cobb linked with "X" Over Cheney: (A) Juvenile (B) Scary

» Radioactive Liberty linked with 2 the X-treme

» Danny Carlton -- alias "Jack Lewis" linked with Since I used to work in television--my comments on CNN's "X"

Comments (42)

they at cnn feels that this... (Below threshold)

they at cnn feels that this will get their ratings up.

Imagine if Fox did this to ... (Below threshold)

Imagine if Fox did this to John Kerry or some Liberal Figure? We'd be hearing about Mind Control techniques on everything from the '04 election to last Friday's vote.

Whether this is nefarious o... (Below threshold)

Whether this is nefarious or not depends on intent. If you look closely the words over "S&P" say "0 Black".

In television parlance, you're looking at a luminance key being set in the control room. The X would line up 2 seconds before a graphic that would be superimposed over video (such as the turning "Fox News" cube).

The graphic is on videotape and a tape operator would cue up to this X waiting for the Associate Director (or perhaps a Producer) to tell them to press "play" 2 seconds before the graphic needs to fly in - perhaps as they go to commercial. The "X" allows the Technical Director (the guy who controls what goes to air) properly prepare the key before it's needed.

The question is: Did the Technical Director do this as a joke? Or was it simply a mistake? I prefer the former explanation... it's more fun. But the latter is more likely.

I wanna know what the words... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

I wanna know what the words are under the X. I can ALMOST make 'em out, but when I zoom in on them in Photoshop, they get too rasterized. The last word, over the "live today" block, is most likely "black," but th rest are too hard for me to make out.


Well, at least CNN was more... (Below threshold)

Well, at least CNN was more subtle than the Late Late Show was with their "Snipers Wanted" caption over the video of Bush giving his 2000 convention speech.

I'd like to know what kind ... (Below threshold)

I'd like to know what kind of "technolgical malfunction" crops an image onto another image every 15th frame. Don't technolgical malfunctions typically make it look like ants on the snow or the image jumping up and down or something chaotic?

The explanation Patrick off... (Below threshold)

The explanation Patrick offered makes sense as an explanation of how the X got there. What it doesn't explain is why it was there. It strikes me as suspect that the X is not superimposed on a picture of the Capital or something else, but on the VP.

If I were running things over there and this truly was an accidental, technical glitch kind of thing that happens when graphics are cued.... Well, I think I could and would put together a little collage of tapes showing the same thing happening in other past broadcasts - and I would run it prominently just as quickly as possible. Then I think I'd change the damned black X to something more innocuous.

If this were a first and only occurence, the 'accidental' explanation would probably fly. But it really isn't the first time, is it? A news organization that allows photos of the President filenamed "asshole.jpg" to be posted on its web site doesn't get earn a lot of trust when it happens again. And that wimpy little "explanation" they floated just reeks of dismissive condescension.

The really sad part is that these are supposed to be highly skilled professionals working for a world class organization, not class clowns.

I've tried several times to... (Below threshold)

I've tried several times to create a Trackback but nothing shows. Doing everything correctly, just not pinging, for some reason.

Here's my link about this:


I agree with Dave. It isn'... (Below threshold)

I agree with Dave. It isn't as if CNN hasn't made similar "mistakes" before and always of a 'mistakenly targeted' political kind. I'd say they have more than one Producer who is looking the other way..."yeah, it's a mistake, someone else did it, it's not me, oops, sorry, wrong number, yeaaarrgghhhhhh."

Sorry, Wizbang, the Trackba... (Below threshold)

Sorry, Wizbang, the Trackback failure was my problem...managed to correct it and successfully Trackback (my MT install seems to change settings without me doing so for some reason, but things are fine now).

If this was anything other ... (Below threshold)

If this was anything other than a technical glitch, then it's yet another example of liberal bias in the MSM... gee, there's a real scoop. However, until it becomes clear what happened here, people engaging in premature speculation run the risk of looking silly once the facts come out. If it becomes clear that CNN did this on purpose, then give 'em hell. Until then, it may be wise to not crawl too far out on the limb.

I think it is entirely poss... (Below threshold)

I think it is entirely possible that this was a deliberate action. However that does not mean that CNN was the culprit. This is the kind of juvenile stunt that a joker who spends at least part of his personal time in the fever swamp would think of as cutting edge. I really can't see a board meeting discussing when to 'X' the VP.

That being said, the fact that it happened and that similar things have happened in that organization is evidence of an organizational culture that supports the insertion of personal bias into the work product. Joker Joe sees and hears the bias of the on screen talent and the news team, and figures, Why Not? The other thing that this reveals is the lack of professional discipline that I would expect a top flight organization to have.

So I suspect that AR is correct, in part. CNN, per se, did not do this. But the political culture there fosters it and their lack of professionalism enables it.

I think that Jeff Harrell's... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

I think that Jeff Harrell's observation that the news crawler at the bottom of the screen moved "too slowly" compared to the X-in X-out shows that we're not seeing actual CNN feed but rather someone's post-interpretation of events. Head on over to The Shape of Days for details, linked in the OP. I read through it and was convinced of his analysis.

I, for one, am shocked - SH... (Below threshold)

I, for one, am shocked - SHOCKED - that the network of Ted Turner could do something like this.

Surely this is just a mistake. CNN has always been dedicated towards giving fair, unbiased, and factual reports of the news... well. Except when there's an election scheduled sometime in the near or distant future.

I notice that the X is cent... (Below threshold)

I notice that the X is centered left to right, but not top to bottom. This may be the normal orientation of the X, but it just so happens to cover the Veep perfectly. Odd that.

It is a small point, but it seems strange to me that someone would create an X to be used for technical reasons, and not center it on the screen.

Someone else has this equipment and can check it.

<a href="http://www.freerep... (Below threshold)

This enlarged single frame capture sure looks to my initial view as if there's a high-contrast facial image just beneath the bottom right point of the large, black "X."

I think Patrick's explanati... (Below threshold)

I think Patrick's explanation is probably right. It's a routine bit of behind-the-scenes video stuff that somehow ended up being broadcast when it shouldn't have been. Why isn't it exactly centered? Got me. Nobody's supposed to see it but the guys in the booth, so why bother with making it look just perfect?

Claiming bias or malicious intent here is stretching it. However, it does seem like someone watching the feed or the broadcast should've corrected it right away. The worst I can get from that is that maybe that someone didn't bother to watch Cheney's speech, in particular, as closely as they should have.

Imagine, an entire 1/16 of ... (Below threshold)

Imagine, an entire 1/16 of a second. How low can these haters of freedom go. It's absolute proof that the MSM hates freedom. And why the letter X. Why not an "A", "C" or even a "G"?

Cheney and the X-Files

Those who reserved judgment... (Below threshold)

Those who reserved judgment were right to do so. Michelle Malkin now say it was definitely a glitch. She also links to the Dan Report where the text has been identified: "Transition will begin after 5 frames of black.

A little bit of common sense is called for here. Anyone who did this deliberately would be fired -as was the person responsible for the photo filenames.

And for those who still shout "incompetence," perhaps you should try working in live TV and see how well you do at preventing glitches.

It is still just possible that someone did do it deliberately, knowing he/she could reasonably claim it was accident. But it really isn't very likely, unless that person was already about to leave or about to be fired anyway.

Another blogger has figured... (Below threshold)

Another blogger has figured out what the black text under the X says.

I don't think that link wor... (Below threshold)
maybe michael moore and tho... (Below threshold)

maybe michael moore and those CNN techno-people were classmates in video-editing or something. This is fun.

THE CHENEY X REVEALED... (Below threshold)


It probably was just a glitch

Polunatic,Your blo... (Below threshold)


Your blog page has a few excerpts from postings that compare this to when a picture was released of the President that was titled "dumbass.jpg". This isn't a speculative, it is a fact. Is it that you choose not to believe?

And your reference to gulags, etc... Are you stoned, stupid, or just 12 years old?


To those who now "know" tha... (Below threshold)

To those who now "know" that this was just a glich, fine.

There are others, like me, who still wonder.

Consider that this was on CNN, the most liberal network noted for, as above, rather insulting names for Bush pic's. Then consider that this X was over the Veep, not Hillary and not anything else that we know of yet.

It is, to my mind, too likely that this was a prank until CNN produces some other stuff that has been X'd out. Since nobody has pointed to the many other X's that must have occured in glich land, could this be the first time anyone has noticed?

Of the millions of hours of taped news, how is it possible that this is happens only now, only on CNN and only over the Veep?

Soon I hope to see lots of X's over some other stuff on some other networks' tape, even then I will have a hard time buying that this glich was not useful cover.

The "this has to be a glich because nobody would be that stupid" argument is not convincing.

Adding an X to video may no... (Below threshold)

Adding an X to video may not be abnormal itself.

But I wonder if the timing, duration, & frequency is normal.

Maybe I'm pulling this out of the air, but aren't there tons of control room counter-measures to prevent such a mistake.

Just seems like an odd coincidence that this gets brought to light on Cheney and not some Michael Jackson or John Kerry spot.

What's wrong with you peopl... (Below threshold)

What's wrong with you people? Is Family Fued telling us that American family's need to be Xed out also?

Do you think it's a conspiracy when your local cable company makes mistakes and they accidently cut part of the new Gap advertisement? They must have some sort of conspiracy!

It's just another one of th... (Below threshold)

It's just another one of those little mistakes that incredibly always seem to go the same way. An incredible coincidence.

All Things Beautiful TrackB... (Below threshold)

All Things Beautiful TrackBack 'X Marks The Bias Spot'

When even Michelle Malkin s... (Below threshold)

When even Michelle Malkin says it was just a glitch, but (to borrow a phrase) the moonbats still scream "conspiracy!" you know something is seriously wrong...in some poor souls' minds.

...and come on! If someone ... (Below threshold)

...and come on! If someone realy did do this deliberately, that person does deserve to be fired...but it is just a little bit funny. I still remember being lambasted over my lack of a sense of humor because I didn't think children being forced into armed combat was a laughing matter. Where are all the jokers now?

Just because this is the on... (Below threshold)

Just because this is the only time the Subliminal X has been "caught" doesn't mean it's the only time it has occurred. The glitch could have occurred many times before to anyone anywhere on the political (or non-political) spectrum. Let's leave the whacked-out conspiracy theories to our friends on the Left.

Control-Room Countermeasure... (Below threshold)

Control-Room Countermeasures???

Hey, this isn't nuclear warfare - it's TV!


I've been in the TV business 15 years (mostly post-production, but I've received control-room training) and the only good counter-measure against on-air technical foul-ups is good training.

The equipment we use doesn't understand the context in which it's being used. If you punch up a preview bus by mistake, the equipment won't stop you.

And unlike that naming of that JPEG, X's are a traditional cue signal for video and graphics roll-ins. Why? Beats me, other than it will rarely be confused with images you might actually want to see on-air.

And FWIW, I see technical foul-ups on the air all the time. Fox, CNN, morning shows, local news - if it airs live there are glitches. Some glitches aren't obvious to the layman. Others - like a big black X acroos the Veep's image - slap you across the face.

Could this have been a prank? Yes.

Could this have been an innocent, though unfortunate, technical mistake? Yes.

Can you tell the difference sitting at home watching? No.

Like I said. It's a matter of intent.

Yo AR,You are righ... (Below threshold)

Yo AR,

You are right, fool that I am to think bad of CNN. The network that, oops, forgot to mention that insider deal that kept them in Baghdad and, oh well, kept the flow of info out limited to that approved by Saddam. The same wonderful folks who gave us the "US troops are targeting journalists" bit.

Why just the other day, someone told me that the picture of Bush labeled "asshole.jpg" was just a simple glitch. It seems that a fishing geek typed in "basshole.jpg" and the computer, well, burped and left off the "b". It could happen to anyone.

You know one has to reboot these things from time to time.

You and others have implied that there are many black X's out there in Glitchland. Well fine, I do not doubt it, all I wrote was - "Show me some".

With the tens of thousands of black X's over damn near everything out there, it should be a simple matter for you TV geeks to find some. All I ask is, put up or shut up.

Sorry, Robert. Your post do... (Below threshold)

Sorry, Robert. Your post doesn't pass logical muster. All signs point to this as a glitch, while the other things you mentioned were clearly intentional. We're on the same side here... I have no love lost for CNN specifically nor the MSM as a whole. However, there's a big difference between crying foul over a legitimate example of bias and crying foul over a technical glitch. The former makes you look fair and balanced, the latter makes you look silly and foolish. A wise man knows when to speak and when to be quiet. Again, let the Left play the fool; let's not join them.

AR:I've been watch... (Below threshold)


I've been watching TV for a long time and I have never before seen a black X on anything, have you?

I repeat, I have not made a call on this, but I have asked a simple question: If there are so many black X's out there, can I see some?

That is a fairly logical question, don't you think? Here's some more logic: 50 years of 3 stations network news, 20 years of CNN 24/7, and 10 years of FNC and MSNBC 24/7. That is about 22 million minutes of news.

So, the odds against this happening in just one 2 minute segment, just on CNN and just over the Veep are about 10 million to 1.

That is not including the local news of course, which would take it up over 100 million to 1.

You could get better odds on the tooth fairy.

Again I repeat, those TV tarzans who are so certain that this is a glitch should be able to find some more black X's. The odds, and logic, demand it, CNN investigation notwithstanding.

The laughter in the CNN control room - when someone should have been shouting "What the F**K", is another indication.

Still waiting...

This may have been a "techn... (Below threshold)

This may have been a "technical glitch" and maybe not. It really doesn't matter. The critical thing to me is that CNN has built a reputation such that it is quite easy to believe that a deliberate "prank" like that could happen in their newsroom. No stretch at all, really.

It's really only poetic justice if the onus sticks to them even if they are blameless in this instance.

"I've been watching TV for ... (Below threshold)

"I've been watching TV for a long time and I have never before seen a black X on anything, have you?"

I'll wager that you didn't see this one, either. Regardless, I've seen odd things on live TV that I've seen one time and one time only.

The point is, making an issue over this is akin to crying wolf and erodes one's credibility. It just makes it that much easier for them (CNN, et al) to dismiss legitimate criticism.

Ah ha! you now seem to be g... (Below threshold)

Ah ha! you now seem to be going with the "only one time" thing. OK, maybe so.

But please, then, admit the 100 million to 1 odds.

Yet you are so certain. Remember please, I have not made a call on this, just asking questions.

The may have been a glitch, but it also may not have been. The least you could do is admit the possibility.

Patrick, the voice of reaso... (Below threshold)

Patrick, the voice of reason.

For some reason no one is taking you seriously.

Can you help me find Gary? I think your time is wasted in this thread.



Robert, if your computer ha... (Below threshold)

Robert, if your computer has a problem that has never happened before, do you assume malicious intent by an individual is behind it?

I decided as an experiment I would google "computer glitch" and "never happened before" and found a great number of links. Here are a few:

Computer glitch delays paychecks
Gauntlet News - Rez withholds $1,600: Students told to wait six weeks for money
TD aims to clear backlog following systems crash
Election glitch missed 103,000 votes in Florida county
Computer glitch trips up Dow Jones industrial average

But as you said,

It is, to my mind, too likely that this was a prank until CNN produces some other stuff that has been X'd out.

So who's behind all the glitches in the above stories? They can't point to when it happened before, so it must have been intentional, right?

(I'll admit that it is possible this was done intentionally. I'm just pointing out that unprecedented computer glitches happen a lot, and unless you have some specific reason to believe this was intentional, you are in tin foil hat territory.)

Robert,As I said, ... (Below threshold)


As I said, all signs point to a glitch. That's not the same as saying there's absolutely no chance it wasn't a glitch. I'll allow that there is an extremely tiny chance this was intentional. How about it... will you admit that there is an excellent chance that it was a glitch? And, if chances are that it was indeed a glitch, then hopefully you'll also concede that it is counterproductive to try to make hay out of it. Good tacticians are always careful about which battles they choose to fight. It may be tempting to fight them all but it eventually leads to some serious windmill tilting.






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