Fox affiliates censor Cosmos segment on evolution

Two different Fox affiliates are apologizing to customers after interrupting Neil deGrasse Tyson’s successful revival of Cosmos last Sunday night. Both networks claim they experienced technical difficulties, but fans aren’t so sure.

In New Orleans, WVUE  claims an accidental technical glitch caused 1 minute and 24 seconds of Sunday’s (May 4) “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” to be replaced with a news promo, a seat-belt-safety public-service announcement and commercials.

The problem: Reports indicate the interruption occurred while host Neil DeGrasse Tyson was in the middle of a discussion about how global climate change millions of years ago set the stage for the primates-to-humans evolutionary journey.

Understandably, some viewers are suspicious about the timing of the “technical glitch.” In the mysteriously missing 84 seconds of video Tyson says:

“Three and a half million years ago our ancestors, yours and mine, left these traces. We stood up, and parted ways from them. Once we stood on two feet, our eyes were no longer fixated on the ground. Now we were free to look up, and wonder.”

Words that just might make a Christian fundamentalist’s head explode – words that some Christians would no doubt like to censor.

A similar episode happened in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with similar results: Duplicate commercials interrupted Cosmos multiple times, leaving many viewers wondering if the program was being censored by Christian conservatives.

FOX21 responded to numerous complaints by Cosmos Viewers on their Facebook page, noting in patronizing fashion that:

“While conspiracy theories are fun, we’d like to set the record straight with regard to what happened during the airing of ‘Cosmos’ on FOX21 Sunday night.”

The network went on to give a lengthy and convoluted explanation as to why the program was repeatedly interrupted by commercials, and why there was no nefarious intent by network personnel to censor Cosmos. But like in New Orleans, many viewers in Colorado Springs are suspicious, and many are not buying the network’s explanation.

Both networks have promised to re-air the episode.

This “accidental” censorship of Cosmos by Fox affiliates is nothing new. Previously, a Fox affiliate in Oklahoma City cut 15 seconds from a discussion of human evolution in the program’s March 9 premier.

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