‘Pox News’ joke was wrong, PBS ombudsman says
The ombudsman for public broadcaster PBS says that the long-running kids’ show Sesame Street was wrong to run a joke at the expense of Fox News.
A skit in which a character declares her intention to stop watching Oscar the Grouch’s news channel and watch “Pox News … a trashy news show” should never have been made, says Michael Getler, the ombudsman for PBS.
As Raw Story reported Wednesday, the conservative Big Hollywood blog raised a fuss over a two-year-old repeat of a Sesame Street episode in which Fox News is mocked as “Pox News.”
“The message is clear,” an unidentified blogger wrote. “I can’t even sit my kids in front of Sesame Street without having to worry about the Left attempting to undermine my authority.”
After receiving letters of complaint — though admittedly “not many of them” — Getler announced that PBS had been wrong to make the joke.
“I don’t know what was in the head of the producers, but my guess is that this was one of those parodies that was too good to resist,” Getler wrote on the PBS ombudsman’s Web site. “But it should have been resisted. Broadcasters can tell parents whatever they think of Fox or any other network, but you shouldn’t do it through the kids.”
Now, on one level, Pox News as an alternative and competitor to the Grouch News Network would seem to be a clever and appropriate title. But you would have to be anesthetized as a producer not to assume that many parents will hear this, or assume this, to be a clever shot at Fox News. It’s a parody, a play on words, and has a timely feel to it at this time, especially, because of the battle now going on publicly between Fox and the White House. So it’s probably not surprising that last week’s showing got more people’s attention.
For its part, the Christian Science Monitor tried to figure out the political leanings of Oscar the Grouch, the runner of the “Groucho News Network” that lost a viewer to “Pox News.”
All that we could come up with is that he’s kind of a cross between Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann. His personality is more like O’Reilly. Yet he’s green. So that would make him Olbermann-like.
As for his appearance, Wolf Blitzer probably comes the closest. Not that Blitzer looks like he lives in a garbage can or anything, but there aren’t many TV commentators with facial hair.