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Bizarre: New Mexico news station treats ‘Pedobear’ as real threat

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 15:01 EDT
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A "Pedobear" at a comic book festival tries to escape with a unicorn baby doll as an axe-wielding police officer attempts to stop him. Photo: Flickr user Glutnix.
 
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A television news station in Albuquerque, New Mexico ran a story this week that has many people familiar with Internet culture shaking their heads in confused dismay.

Just to be clear, the character “Pedobear” is not a real cartoon, nor is it a calling card for pedophiles. It is a satire of pedophiles, not by them. Pedobear is the Internet’s way of making fun of something awful — in this case, sexual crimes against children.

But to KRQE News in Albuquerque, if you see one, you should be very, very careful — and they’re not joking.

In a segment aired Monday night, the station reported that two Pedobear stickers had been spotted on two vehicles in Albuquerque, and a print shop had recently begun selling them.

So, you know: the threat is clear, and serious. Obviously.

And it’s so serious, the station felt it necessary included in its report YouTube footage from the 2009 comic book convention in San Diego, showing a man dressed as the nefarious, imaginary bear.

Of course, he wasn’t preying on children: Comic Con is famous for attracting hundreds of costumed comic, cartoon and film enthusiasts, and that individual was making an inside joke. But the news station didn’t bother to offer that context.

(To be fair, police in California issued a similar warning about Pedobear in 2010, which was of course picked up by local news stations that also failed to get the joke.)

Instead of explaining that pedophiles don’t really dress up as bears and wander around in public offering candy to children, KRQE’s reporters, and even an official with the New Mexico Attorney General’s office, went in front of the cameras with stern warnings to the public.

“We will pursue every [Pedobear] lead that we get,” Lynn Southard, with the state attorney general’s office, told the station. “We don’t know where he’s going to show up. If we can protect just one child, we’ve done our job.”

It’s almost enough to make one wonder if they just somehow missed the basic concept of a “meme.”

This video is from KRQE.com.

This video is from “Know Your Meme,” explaining what Pedobear is, and how it became a popular joke.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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