On November 22 during a live speech by Dick Cheney CNN experienced a graphical malfunction. For just a moment viewers saw this image on their screen:Here’s the link to The Drudge Report that has some quotes from CNN explaining what happened, but I’ll save you the time and explain it here. On linear and non-linear editing (NLE) systems a large X indicates where graphical transitions need to be placed. For example, let’s imagine you have a video of a man hitting another man in the face with a large salmon, and right after the salmon hits the victim you want to place a large graphic that says “SMACK!” on-screen, a la the old Batman T.V. show. The computer marks the spot where the video ends and your silly graphic should begin by placing a very large X at the appropriate temporal position on the video of the man getting whacked with the fish. Anyone who’s ever worked with Adobe Premiere, Pro Tools, or a proprietary AVID would know this. CNN”s blaming it on a “switcher” which I’m assuming works the same way.
So, there was supposed to be a graphic that provided a transition from Cheney to some other video that somehow made it on-screen. During a live feed placing that X there would have been a pretty difficult task for an engineer to accomplish; not saying it couldn’t happen but it’s not very likely.
Not that I don’t like the idea of CNN purposefully putting a big ”˜ole X over Cheney’s face, I just don’t think the yahoos over there think that far ahead. Something like that would require deviating from their normal protocols and broadcast procedures, and we all know how well those folks at CNN handle improvisation.