CNN claims it was a computer glitch. And its supporters say conservative Internet "bloggers" are making way too much of the incident.
But it tells you something about the state of distrust of the mainstream media that many people believe someone at CNN intentionally put a big black "X" over Vice President Dick Cheney's face during his televised speech on Monday.
"We are taking this matter very, very seriously," a CNN official was quoted, "and I can assure you no one at this network would ever deliberately place an 'X' over the vice president's face."
We're not so easily convinced.
Opposition to the Iraq war has become so overheated and hysterical that we wouldn't put it past some Bush-hater to do such a thing - especially among the mainstream media. One report also indicated a CNN control room staffer laughed when the "X" came up over the vice president.
Consider, too, what happened at CBS - the network that had to back off airing a nasty hatchet job on the Reagans some time ago: Several news executives were ushered out, and Dan Rather rode off into the sunset, after CBS eagerly went to air with apparently forged documents in an effort to bring down President Bush before last year's election.
Forgive observers for wondering if it was such a coincidence that the "X" appeared just in time for the vice president.
"When has an 'X' ever aired on CNN before?" asks a rival news executive. Certainly not during an appearance by one of the darlings of the liberal media.
Remember, too, this is the network that brought you the "Tailwind" scandal - a story it later retracted that had recklessly and wrongfully alleged U.S. forces used nerve gas to kill American defectors in Laos during the Vietnam War.
Here's an algebra question for you: With "X" being a long and tired liberal record, what do you get when you add "X" to the vice president's face?
Answer: a real credibility problem.
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