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FOXNews Orders An End to Word-Plays on Coleman TV Series and Bizarre Actions
Serious Candidate, Serious Coverage

By Max Burbank

LOS ANGELES - Fox News Channel senior vice president John Moody has ordered an end to Gary Coleman related short-insane-has-been jokes, according to a report set for Monday release.

"Wachu recalling about, Willis?," "The Short List for Governor," and "Was he the one who held up a filling station?" may be but a a few of the never-ending examples on-air Coeman cuties--but Moody's had enough.

NYT media watcher Jim Rutenberg is preparing to root out a memorandum posted recently in the Fox News computer system: "The urge may seem irresistible to play off Gary Coleman's acting career, and lack there-of," Moody wrote. "Resist it. Otherwise the effect is often to belittle the candidacy of a candidate for one of the most important offices in the U.S., and that's not fair and balanced. No more references to 'The Black Leprechaun,' 'Mr. Somewhat bigger than Emmanuel Lewis,' and 'Conrad Bain's Human Beer Coaster' as 'shorthand' for the candidate... Certainly don't suggest he is part of a 'circus' or 'side show', lump him in with novelty candidates or charge a quarter to see him like Arnold Schwarzenegger... Ask yourself if your clever turn of phrase is suggesting that Coleman's candidacy isn't a serious one. That's exactly the case his political opponents want to press. We need to play it down the middle."

Fox is the only one of the three major cable networks so far to draft such a policy, reports Rutenberg, while the WB has an internal memo stating, "Give the little freak hell. It's hysterical and he asked for it."

John J. Stack, the Fox News Channel vice president for news gathering said of Coleman, "People do recognize him from his TV show, but they can't remember which crimes he committed as opposed to Dana Plato and the other, taller black kid. But he is now undertaking a very serious mission and we want people to be told all about it."

Besides, he said, supressing mirth, California voters, faced with huge economic problems, are by now getting bored with the frivolous aspects of the campaign and need to consider serious issues such as how much money is being flushed down the drain and how soon a similar amount of money can be flushed down it again.

"The circus component is starting to subside. People have gotten their yuks about the porn star and the steroid-swollen Nazi eugenics experiment," he said, "and I think that's pretty unfair and tars other porn stars and genetically-enhanced, cigar-smoking Kennedy humpers with the filthy brush of politics. We at Fox should be above all that, which means we strive to be the diving board over the cess pool of television news coverage."


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