Internet news and rumor site Drudge Report has blasted CNN over what it seems to imply was an intentional "X" placed over the face of Vice President Dick Cheney during a live speech. The Drudge story, which points to a claim that someone in the control room laughed at the incident and quotes a rival news network as asking when such an event has happened before, seems to allude to malicious intent.
Mainstream conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, responding to mail from readers with broadcasting experience, writes she is "convinced" it was just a technical goof. Malkin has, in the past, been a vocal critic of news service photo manipulation of Secretary of State Rice and an insulting caption of President Bush on a major news site.
According to the network, "A portion of the switcher experienced a momentary glitch." The "X," the news organization explains, was in fact a place-marker for the CNN logo, which was being cued for transition. It was for operator use, and never meant to go on air. Drudge skeptically quotes the CNN statement, which further characterizes the incident as, "A technological malfunction not an issue of operator error."
Bloggers Dan Report and Intoxination have analyzed the video, isolating the key effects (images superimposed over the primary video). Revealed were the "X" and the words "Transition appears over 5 frames," which are even somewhat visible on the Drudge image. This would seem to support CNN's claim.