A photograph of President and Mrs. Bush featured in online election coverage by AOL Time Warner companies uses a graphic slur in the coding of the picture.
The photo, which appeared on a Netscape site co-branded with CNN, originally was slugged a–hole.jpg as identified when viewers clicked on the “properties” of the picture. Though the original Web address of the photo with the slur has been disabled, readers last night could actually see the photo isolated with the slur by going to the online address.
The name of the photo has now been changed, with georgelaura135.jpg replacing a–hole.jpg. [Note: The two dashes were not present in the original; rather, the slur was spelled out. WND's editorial standards include the use of dashes to veil profanity and obscenity.]
The photo is accompanied by a headline and caption reading:
“How Bush Won the Election”
“President Bush convincingly won the popular vote thanks to strong backing from his party’s conservative base, as well as increased support from minority voters, according to exit polls.”
Readers can click on the photo, which then takes them to more extensive election coverage provided by CNN.
The photo is a cropped image of a much larger picture taken by Associated Press photographer Pablo Monsivais on Election Day.
The caption on Yahoo’s website states: “President Bush with first lady Laura wave before entering The Crawford Fire Department to vote in Crawford, Texas, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004. Daughters Barbara and Jenna are in the background.”
If readers click on properties for that photo, there is no indication of any obscene language.
As WorldNetDaily checked other photos on the CNN/Netscape coverage, the properties used standard slug names, such as (John) Kerry concedes, or Barack20, referring to Sen.-elect Barack Obama of Illinois.
A spokesman for CNN, Matt Furman, said the network had nothing to do with the slur.
“It was an image produced by an employee of another company,” he told WND. “We didn’t know anything about it and had nothing to do with it.
“Most importantly, it was never on CNN.com. … It’s our picture, but it never appeared on our site.”
The image did appear, however, on cnn.netscape.cnn.com, which is labeled as “Netscape network news with CNN.”
A further statement from CNN reads: “A Web image and text disparaging President and Mrs. Bush currently circulating on the Internet was not created, disseminated or posted by CNN at any time, as is alleged. It was done by an employee of Netscape and posted on Netscape.com. CNN had no knowledge of it until it surfaced on other websites.”
Andrew Weinstein, a spokesman for Netscape, reiterated the fact CNN itself had nothing to do with the slur. He says the Netscape employee responsible has been fired.
“A junior employee at Netscape identified two election photos with image tags that used inappropriate, disparaging terms,” Weinstein told WorldNetDaily. “As soon as the situation was discovered, it was immediately corrected, and the employee has been terminated.”
He said Netscape apologizes to CNN and “anyone else offended in this matter.”
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