Should News Shows Lie About Santa?

This morning’s Today Show coverage of Manti Te’o's imaginary girlfriend came with an unwelcome extra—an outing of Santa Claus, thanks to an ill-chosen tweet that was highlighted during the piece. The tweet, which appears halfway through the 3-minute segment (along with a voiceover that reads it aloud), says, “You think Manti Te’o's sad now? Just wait until he finds out about Santa Claus…” You can check it out here:

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A friend of mine ended up driving her son to school crying, while she tried to explain it away. I imagine that she’s not the only one trying to contact the Today Show today to say, “What gives?” And I’m pretty sure that the segment producer is in hot water, especially as there were probably plenty of other clever tweets about the Manti Te’o situation that didn’t involve destroying a child’s belief in Santa.

It’s not the first time in the past few months when a morning news show has angered parents over their lack of a spoiler alert—parents were ready to come after Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer with pitchforks after she explained during the morning show that parents move the Elf on the Shelf at night, while touching the Elf (a no-no as any Elf-on-the-Shelf owner knows).

The public outcry led Lara Spencer to do a big old retraction the following day, explaining the Elf on the Shelf myth and saying that the Elf on the Shelf is indeed real.

It’s a tricky situation. Morning news programs are supposed to be all about news—the truth about what’s happening in the world. But these programs are often on when kids are around as they get ready for school. And it means that newscasters on these shows should maybe be a little more careful about sharing the truth about the magical creatures that are still real to a significant portion of their viewership.

Did you catch the snafu this morning on the Today Show? And are you planning a TV blackout around Easter Bunny season?

 

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  1. by Jessica Rodgers

    On January 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Oh good gracious, news shows need not concern themselves with protecting silly lies.