On Wednesday, Fox affiliate KOKH-TV issued an apology on Twitter for an “operator error,” that resulted in an interruption of last Sunday’s premier episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new thirteen part series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. The program was produced by Tyson, Ann Druyan, and Seth MacFarlane. Because of the timing of the “operator error,” some are accusing the Oklahoma City Fox affiliate of censorship.
The 15-second segment toward the end of the show where Tyson briefly talks about human evolution was interrupted by the Oklahoma station to play a promo for the local news. Here is the missing monologue from the show:
“We are newcomers to the Cosmos. Our own story only begins on the last night of the cosmic year. Three and a half million years ago, our ancestors — your and mine left these traces. We stood up and parted ways from them. Once we were standing on two feet, our eyes were no longer fixated on the ground. Now, we were free to look up and wonder.”
The Oklahoma station insists that it wasn't censorship and that it was just an “operator error.” However, many have speculated that the error might have been intentional.
Oklahoma is known as a pretty religious state and it would not be surprising for a religious believer who rejects the science of human evolution to take offense to Tyson’s words and intentionally edit the broadcast believing he or she is doing “God’s work.”
To be fair, it might just have been an inexperienced operator who cut to the news too quickly but given that human evolution is viewed as extremely offensive to many religious fundamentalists and that the segment just so happened to have been the only part of the program referring to human origin, it would not be a surprise to learn that the error was intentional.
Here is the text of the station’s official Tweet apologizing for the error:
KOKH FOX 25 @OKCFOX
Sunday, during @COSMOSonTV, a local news promo was aired over a portion of COSMOS content. This was an operator error & we regret the error.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey airs on the FOX network Sundays at 9pm EST. Episodes can also be viewed later online at the FOX website.
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