In my Monday post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) about the "Million Muppet March," the astroturfing Obama-supportive operation being managed by Michael Bellavia -- a gentleman whose animation firm "just so happens" to have Sesame Workshop as a major client -- I questioned how he and the rest of the group can be so sure that they "can just use the Muppet characters ... at a brazenly political event without worrying about consequences."
My take on this morning's "march"-related news is that "march" organizers have quietly been prevented from doing so. That's because they're not calling it the "Million Muppet March" any more. It's now the "Million Puppet March." The remarkably incurious Associated Press, in a brief report this morning (presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes), unskeptically relayed the group's pathetic name-change excuse:
'PUPPET MARCH' PLANNED IN DC TO DEFEND PBS FUNDING
More than 1,000 puppeteers and public broadcasting supporters have signed on for a march on the National Mall in Washington three days before the election.
The so-called Million Puppet March being planned online is scheduled for Nov. 3. By Wednesday morning, more than 1,000 participants had responded on Facebook, saying they would attend.
It comes after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's remarks during a presidential debate calling for the elimination of funding for PBS, which airs the popular children's show Sesame Street.
Organizers originally called the event a Million Muppet March. But they note that they've changed the name to include sock puppets, hand puppets, marionettes, shadow puppets and mascots.
The unbylined AP report's headline and content have several errors.
First, Romney wants to eliminate government funding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, not "funding for PBS."
Second, one might get the impression from the writeup that Mitt the Meanie wants to eliminate all "funding for PBS" from all sources, even though "53% to 60% of public television's revenues come from private membership donations and grants."
Third, the item's discussion of the Facebook sign-ups ignores the thousands more who signed up on the group's original Million Muppet March Facebook page during the past two weeks (link is to Google cache from Monday, which may not be up for long; the actual Facebook page has been cleaned out). Why? Probably because it would make it look -- as really appears to be the case -- that these people are picking up the pieces after getting a privately communicated piece of Disney's corporate mind about the attempted hijacking of characters they own.
As to the excuse for the name change: Give me a freakin' break. The new logo's background has even changed from "Muppet" green to red. At the new Facebook page, the attempts at humor to make an excuse for the name change are exceptionally lame:
We’ve changed our name to Million Puppet March to be more inclusive of all puppetkind.
We made the name change at the request of: - Sock puppets who felt they were getting lost
- Hand puppets who wanted to lend a hand
- Marionettes who wanted to pull the strings for a change
- Mascots who wanted to join the team
- Shadow puppets who felt left in the dark
- And finger puppets who… well, you know what they were giving us :)
What Bellavia and his collection of Obama administration puppets didn't mention is the likely truth: "We thought we could use someone else's intellectual property with impunity, and got read the riot act."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.