Politics

PBS Defends Joking About Sarah Palin & "Refudiate"

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

PBS is defending itself against criticism it has received after a segment that poked fun at Sarah Palin and her now infamous creation and use of the word "refudiate."

In a segment on the news program "Need to Know" humorist Andy Borowitz joked that if Sarah Plain were to become President in 2012, she would "cancel the agreement between nouns and verbs" and change the nation's official language to "Palinese, a language known only to her."

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Many in the media have mocked Palin for using the word "refudiate" as well as her other struggles with the English language. Following the PBS segment, many viewers wrote in to say it was inappropriate, and that they took offense.

But writing his ombudsman column on PBS's web site, Michael Getler defending the network, saying, "Palin's new word was all over the media and fair game."

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He went on to write:

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..."