CNN’s "Magic Wall" map on Thursday’s Situation Room displayed an error regarding the results of the 2000 presidential election. Instead of indicating that President George W. Bush won in the state of Florida by shading it red, the map showed that Florida was a blue state. Of course, the Sunshine State was the center of a furious battle over recounting votes, and in the certified count, only 537 votes separated Bush from Democrat Al Gore.
Correspondent John King, the Magic Wall’s "maestro" according The Economist, used the touch screen map just after the bottom of the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program to demonstrate a new feature of his map, which displays the locations of CNN’s "Best Political Team on Television" throughout the country as they follow the presidential campaign. While King didn’t directly state that the map he was working with was for the 2000 presidential election results, a caption in the upper left-hand corner read "United States of America: General Election," and in the upper right hand corner, there were graphics that had Gore’s name in blue and Bush’s in red.
Of course, as the map on the website of the American Presidency Project of UC Santa Barbara [at right] indicates, Florida was a "red state" in the year 2000. Specifically, Bush received 2,912,790 votes, while Gore received 2,912,253 votes, according the Federal Election Commission.
It would be charitable to give CNN the benefit of the doubt with this error, despite the controversy that continues to this day over the results of 2000 presidential election. A February 5, 2008 article in the Washington Post by Paul Farhi reported that glitches and errors with the "Magic Wall" have been "rare, but they do happen. During the New Hampshire primary, King tapped on a state map to call up one county’s voting results -- and nothing happened. So he tapped and tapped again. Finally, the unit coughed up what King was after. ‘Sometimes,’ he muttered on camera, in a moment enshrined on YouTube, ‘the map plays with you.’"