CNN vs. The Wingnuts: X Does Not Mark the Spot

CNN, those damn liberal bastards! How dare they put an “X” over the Vice President’s face in a blatant act of biased and immature commentary?

Or, wait a tick, maybe that’s not exactly the way things happened. Here’s what I want you to do right now. I want you to go get out your copy of Fight Club, put it on. The chapter you want is chapter 12, “Odd Jobs”. You don’t have Fight Club? What the hell is wrong with you? That movie kicks all forms of ass, and is only hated by those who like to deprive themselves of things that rock. Still, being the dedicated journalist that I am, I’ve provided the important part of the script below:

Jack: He had one part-time job as a projectionist. See a movie doesn’t come all on one big reel. It comes on a few. So someone has to be there to switch the projectors at the exact moment that one reel ends and the next one begins. If you look for it, you can see these little dots come into the upper right-hand corner of the screen.


Tyler: In the industry, we call them “cigarette burns.”

Jack: That’s the cue for a changeover. He flips the projectors, and the movie keeps right on going, and nobody in the audience has any idea.

Of course, CNN wouldn’t hope that its millions of viewers would pull this random bit of trivia out of their ass and apply it to the incident in question and put 2 and 2 together. That’s why CNN actually came out and explained what happened.

But for some people that’s just not good enough. Conservative bloggers everywhere are flogging this story like it’s the pet dolphin of a seventeen year old chess club member. You can see some of it here, here, here, and let’s go to the mother of them all, Drudge.

Now I’m going to digress. When I was still working on the UPC, Cernig, Goose and I had a story drop in our laps. One of our commentors had claimed that he had a video of a US military bomber dropping a bomb on school children. We obtained the video, we sent it to military experts, we had people who were good with video equipment look at it, and we did what some might call “vetting.” After all the eyeballs we put on the video finished with it, the three of us talked it over, and what we decided was that we didn’t have enough. You see, what we did was we took a story, and despite how much we would have or would not have liked to run with it, we looked at the evidence, and decided our integrity was worth more than putting something out there that wasn’t verified.

It’s called responsible reporting.

And yet the wingnuts are all buzz buzz buzz. Why? It may be because of this phone call. Yes, who could possibly deny CNN’s outright disdain for the current administration, and it’s irresponsibility after listening to a phone call where a rep from CNN actually chastises an unhappy viewer with, “well tell Bush and Cheney to quit lying”?

Well, the way I figure it, there are three possibilities. The first is that CNN really is biased, hates Cheney, and has mobilized all of the Time Warner staff against the current administration. The second is that this is just some lone crackpot who, if the first article linked to is to be believed, managed to spew his hate filled speech to “high volumes” of callers. And finally, there is just the slightest possibility, maybe, that said phone call is… I know it’s hard to believe… a hoax.

Well, as further put forth by more responsible rightwing bloggers Instapundit, and Brain Terminal, it’s highly UNLIKELY, that CNN X’d Cheney in a bout of rogue commentary, and much more LIKELY that it was a technical mistake. To peel the onion a little further, our kindly host, Goose actually saw the broadcast, and has informed me that no, it wasn’t several flashes of an X, but instead just one, a little detail that seems to take a touch of the maliciousness out of it.

Even further, does it make sense that CNN would be all brave and reckless and Xing out the veep’s face one day, and then apologizing and explaining the next? Not really. Further, you have to understand, these are big brain people. If all of a sudden, all the folks running the show over at CNN decided “hey, we have this HUGE freakin’ media outlet at our hands, let’s use it politically,” do you think they would:

A) Emulate Fox News and continue to report news stories with a slight leftist undercurrent, thereby discreetly affecting the opinions of millions of voters without marginalizing it’s own ability to influence?


B) Pull an immature, adolescent, and amateur stunt, and then back peddle out of it?

If Little Green Footballs was running the show, than yeah, sure maybe “B”. But while I’m not the most educated person in the world, I do like to think of myself as capable of thought, and therefore would choose “A”.

So it’s the nut or the hoax. While Goose and I are still investigating the validity of the phone call, I’m gonna pull another logic train for you. Call centers are monitored. Calls are not only recorded, but also timed, and assessed as well. So I could believe that one lone nut answered one phone call maybe two or three, but if you go back and read the initial article linked to, it says, “high volumes”. Now, do you think, considering how closely monitored these calls are, that management and supervision would let this one guy stay on the phone long enough to affect a “high volume” of callers? My guess is no.

Note: Daily Pundit does back peddle at the end of his piece saying that the phone call is probably a hoax. So I give credit for that. But the fact that he led with a phone call that is too ludicrous not to be a hoax without checking it first is still well…


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