PBS Ombud: ‘Need to Know’ Palin Joke Was Fair Game

By Alex Weprin Comment

Palinese072910.bmp The ombudsman for PBS, Michael Getler, addressed a controversy regarding “Need to Know” in his latest column. Humorist Andy Borowitz joked at the end of a recent show about “Palinese”, or the linguistic habits of former Alaska Governor and current Fox news contributor Sarah Palin. A number of viewers took issue with the segment.

When I asked Shelley Lewis, NTK’s executive producer, about this, she sent a copy of what she had posted on the program’s website in response to early feedback: “Is a little joking about Ms. Palin’s penchant for malaprops really such a big deal? Last week editorial cartoonist Steve Brodner was pretty tough on President Obama, and we heard plenty from Obama fans about how unfair we were, how rightwing we were, etc. We do try to have some fun at both sides’ expense…”

Getler agreed with Lewis, arguing that Palin’s new word (Refudiate,when she meant to write refute) was fair game. The previous week Getler sided with many of the viewers of the program, who felt that a segment about President Obama was “jarring” due in part to unintentional racial overtones.

Video of Borowitz’s “Palinese” piece is after the jump.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.