Friday, January 20, 2012

The Puppet's Court Delivers Television Corruption News

I bet you never dreamed you'd read this line in a news story about a federal racketeering trial: "A furry hand stuffs cash down the shirt of a puppet prostitute."

That's an Associated Press account of a Cleveland television station's novel way of covering the trial of Jimmy Dimora.

Television cameras are not allowed inside federal court trials. Typically, television stations rely on reading court transcripts, showing sketches, and offering video of defendents and their lawyers grimly marching in or out of the court building.
A squirrel puppet journalist reports on a federal racketeering
trial for WOIO Action News in Cleveland

But not WOIO 19 Action News, no sir. The television station has puppets acting out the often lurid court testimony.

Yes, puppets. They look more like Muppets, the kind you'd normally see on Sesame Street, or palling around with Kermit and Miss Piggy

But the dialogue isn't exactly as wholesome as Miss Piggie's romantic interest in Kermit, or the laboratory mishaps Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew find themselves causing.

No, we have puppet prostitutes, puppets spreading STDs, puppets laundering money, all acting out the court transcripts.

The television station stresses that it only airs "The Puppet's Court" at the end of the newscast, and uses the beginning of the news show to report the serious news coming out of the trial.

It's kind of fitting that the pupper reporter narrating the trial in "The Puppet's Court" is a squirrel, since it seems many people think this puppet idea is a bit squirrely to begin with.

Even WOIO staffers don't know what to make of the puppet news. "I'm horrified," one anchor said after Day 2 of The Puppet Court.

Who knows, maybe the idea will catch on, and the real Muppets will become the stars of the psychodramas that are local newscasts. The Muppets could be really useful here in Vermont newscasts.

Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem could maybe cover the Burlington, Vermont arts scene.  Some Muppet cows could do some farm coverage.  Kermit would be perfect reporting from the Vermont Statehouse.

I'm sure Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker could enliven some, um, explosive science coverage. Miss Piggy is perfect for gossip coverage, and maybe use her trademark karate chop to get the dirt on local celebrities.  The elderly curmudgeons in the balcony, Statler and Waldorf, could do movie reviews, though they'd probably hate every movie they see.

OK, maybe the idea needs work. But while we consider the possibility of All Puppets, All the Time on CNN (wouldn't you love to see a puppet version of Anderson Cooper?) let's watch a segment of WOIO's Puppet's Court:

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