Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


PBS says Sesame Street parody on FOX News was wrong

PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler said Sesame Street was wrong to mock FOX News in a recent skit which appeared on the popular children's show.

By Jimmy Orr / November 6, 2009

PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler (not pictured) said he agreed with complaints that Sesame Street writers went too far when they parodied FOX News.

NEWSCOM

Enlarge

So maybe the writers at Sesame Street aren't trying to infiltrate children with left-wing communist propaganda?

Skip to next paragraph

Recent posts

Yesterday we told you about one conservative blogger who thought that Sesame Street was out of line for a recent skit which had a muppet call a fictional news network a "trashy news show."

What incensed the writer? The name of said network was POX News. And guess which news network rhymes with POX?

Friends in high places

Turns out this blogger has an ally that has some influence over at Sesame Street. No, Snuffleupagus hasn't gone rogue or anything. It's one of the big cheeses: PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler.

Getler writes in his blog that he received some negative correspondence following the October 29th broadcast of the children's show. In this episode, Oscar the Grouch -- the founder of the Grouch News Network (GNN) -- receives a phone call from what appears to be a female muppet (or Bret Michaels from Poison) complaining that GNN isn't grouchy enough.

“I am changing the channel,” she says to Oscar. “From now on I am watching ‘Pox’ News. Now there is a trashy news show.”

It sounded so much like FOX News that even he was fooled by it.

"Everybody who wrote to me heard this as "Fox News," and I can't really blame them," Getler writes. "When I went and watched the tape for the first time, I thought I heard "Fox" as well, perhaps because of the association one assumes when you hear "news" right after the word."

Crossed the line

Getler said in one respect the joke worked, but overall it was too close for comfort.

"Pox News as an alternative and competitor to the Grouch News Network would seem to be a clever and appropriate title," he wrote. "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."

"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. 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," he added.

Now there's not much an Ombudsman can do after the fact. Perhaps the skit won't run again in the future. And surely the writers won't repeat that specific offense.

Waddya say now?

But the admission that they went too far is providing one website with something to crow about -- the same website that called attention to it in the first place.

John Nolte, the Editor-in-Chief of Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood site, seemed to bask a bit in the glory of PBS's admission of guilt.

"In response to Stage Right using “Sesame Street’s” unfortunate behavior as an example with which to speak for the many, many many parents frustrated with the idea of partisan programming aimed at children, some online outlets responded with the expected and usual dismissive snarky contempt," Nolte writes. "But now that PBS is on record agreeing with Stage Right, we’re left to wonder if they find PBS 'stupid,' 'asinine,' 'absurd,' and 'idiotic.'

You can watch the original video clip here. But we couldn't resist embedding Oscar's favorite song "I Love Trash" below...

-------------

Hey, follow us on Twitter and we promise to take out your trash every day!

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story