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CNN X-plains Glitch

CNN was forced to explain itself earlier this week when a giant black X flashed over the face of Vice President Dick Cheney during a live broadcast.

According to a statement, the network’s senior managers immediately began an investigation, and concluded that the problem came not because of operator error, but from a momentary glitch in a switcher, the device that allows television directors to switch from one shot to another. There is speculation that the X in question serves as a video cue that allows directors to set up animation that is superimposed over the images, and the playback source that displays the animation was apparently left on the cue-point, thus the X.

According to the Drudge Report, the X’s only appeared for a fifteenth of a second each, but created an “odd subliminal effect.” Drudge has still not added CNN’s official explanation to his initial report, but he asks whether the timing of the X, which came as Cheney was stating that he did not think it is wrong to criticize the administration, was meant as a message from Atlanta.

A lot of folks are criticizing CNN, wondering why the glitch only occurred during Cheney’s speech. Some say they were trying to make a political statement. I’ve worked in television for fifteen years now, and I can tell you that there are some glitches that happen when you’d least expect them and at the worst-possible moment.

Anything is possible…but I have a hard time accepting the political agenda theory. I think that if CNN wanted to slip in some kind of political statement, they might have found something a little less obvious than a giant black X that covers Cheney’s whole head. Does anyone really think that if it had been intended as some kind of commentary, it wouldn’t have been noticed?


  1. I would take it as a mistake and it just happened to Vice-President Cheney; nothing more; nothing less. We tend to be a nation or a people that want to sensationalize everything these days.

  2. LOL Why must everything anymore be labeled a conspiracy of some sort?

    I guess conspiracies are a heck of a lot more fun to discuss than are goofs and glitches.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.