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November 2, 2003

The blogosphere is giddy over

Daniel Radosh

The blogosphere is giddy over Matt Groening's revelation that Fox News considered suing The Simpsons over a parody of its news ticker ("Study: 92 percent of Democrats are gay..."). People are eager to believe the worst of Fox news (for good reason), and after the whole Fair & Balanced thing it's easy enough to believe Groening was telling the truth, as most of the news media, as well as some bloggers I admire very much did.

But was he? In a Washington Post report that, unlike the original interview, has been picked up almost nowhere, The Simpsons issued an apology: "Matt was being satirical and certainly there was never any issue between the show and Fox News. We regret any confusion."

Now, I admit I didn't hear the interview, so maybe there was some tone of voice thing we were supposed to pick up on, but from reading Groening's quotes, it doesn't look like he was "being satirical" at all. It looks, rather, like he was lying to make Fox News look dumb. Groening never struck me as the stoop to conquer type. If he was lying, I hope he apologizes personally and that every blogger who took his word to thumb their nose at Fox withdraws said thumb. But it's also possible, isn't it, that Groening's first statements were true and someone at Fox pressured the show into a false retraction. In which case, I'd like to hear about that on Fresh Air.

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