Tulsa Tuesday: Attack of the Pedobear

(This week’s Tulsa Tuesday is written by Johnny Utica.  He (and other Tulsans) are filling in for the Irritated Tulsan as he travels around the country giving candy to young boys.)

Last week, Tulsa’s Fox23 News started its 5pm newscast with a hard-hitting, sensational story about a sexual predator in California dressed as a cute, fuzzy mascot, handing out candy to unsuspecting children at a comic industry convention.

Check it out:

That was nice. Only one problem, really: the entire story is bullshit.

For the uninitiated (read: TPD & TV newsroom staff), Pedobear is a joke. A fake mascot created online to mock pedophiles. A LOLcat who wants kids instead of cheeseburgers. There’s an excellent Pedobear primer here, which you should read and then forward to aalford@fox23.com.

The San Luis Obispo police were the first to inflate this non-story by sending out a FANTASTIC warning to other police departments, which is most surely how TPD & Fox23 got a hold of it to further inflate it. And to their credit, Fox23 quickly figured it out (apparently someone there has a friend who has an internet), and posted a retraction of sorts on their website:

“Today, Tulsa Police tell Fox23 News, they made a mistake and the man in the costume is not a registered sex offender. However, police say it is disturbing that someone would dress in a costume that makes fun of pedophiles and would give out free candy to children.”

In other words: Our story was bogus, but we stand behind our fearmongering. By the way, Fox, you didn’t need that 2nd comma, but grammar is the least of your journalism problems. And although Fox has taken the brunt of the national mockery, I have no intention of letting KOTV off the hook, despite them adding:

“According to federal statistics it’s not a stranger in a costume but people you know who are most likely to be a child predator. Only seven percent of juvenile sexual assault victims are attacked by strangers.”

I had to read that first sentence a couple times. I guess all the commas jumped off KOTV’s site and into Fox’s story. Good to see all the ‘journalists’ on the same (missing) grammatical page.

With a little luck, this whole mess has been a learning experience for Fox23’s reporters and managers and they’ve come to some conclusions.

I know I have.  They are that:

“¢ ‘Journalism’ and ‘TV News’ are not the same thing;

“¢ Captain Cane wants to do very bad things with that lightning-bolt sword; and

“¢ Clay Loney explaining what NAMBLA means is every bit as creepy as the organization itself.