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Big Bird Backfire

The count4
New York Post October 10 2012

The conservative New York Post on Obama making Big Bird an issue.

As a touchy current political subject, I'm attempting to make my contributions as non-partisan as possible, so I'm not exactly sure how to clarify the statement that currently reads "The Republican National Committee dubbed the statement the 'Big Bird Backfire'." The RNC is not using the term to refer to Romney's original statement; rather, they are criticizing Obama for his usage of Big Bird to poke fun at Romney, both in the television advertisement and a number of speeches. (See, for example, this image linked on the official GOP Twitter, using The Count to satirize Obama's overuse of Sesame Street metaphors while avoiding what they consider to be more important issues facing America.)

(For the record, I myself am a liberal; as I said, I'm doing my best to attempt to keep the Big Bird-as-political-talking-point discussion as non-partisan as possible by seeing how both sides reacted to it.) Yer pal, Mobo85 00:31, October 11, 2012 (UTC)

That sentence definitely should be reworded. I don't know how much coverage we want to give to stuff like the New York Post though, since in any event the starting point is the debate and what Romney said (which thus makes it an issue as far as Muppet Wiki relevance). The rest starts to get into what I was rather concerned about when this page was started, getting off track, and even if the Muppets are used, it starts to become rather irrelevant and a pingponging. We'll see how it goes, though (we still need to cover Sesame Workshop's response to the Obama ad, since for us, *that's* far more relevant). Thanks for the fact check (the wording sounded odd to me to begin with; I'd also changed the phrasing which attributed the campaign ad to "the Democrats" when it's specifically noted as approved and paid for by the Obama campaign. May seem picayune but worth distinguishing and helps maintain focus). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 00:46, October 11, 2012 (UTC)

Category Question

Does this page qualify to be in the Politics category? I would assume "yes", but I was wondering if there were other thoughts.--Gonzofan (talk) 07:19, October 10, 2012 (UTC)

Actually, that's a better fit than the initial TV Mentions (though we'll keep it in both), especially as it's developed, but even if it hadn't blown up, a presidential debate is inherently political. Good catch! -- Andrew Leal (talk) 16:57, October 10, 2012 (UTC)


This is kind of an awkward fit, not really a normal TV mention and closer to what we cover under rumors. I understand that this is big news right now, but we've generally covered when politicians or the news gets het up on Muppets *only* when it fits an existing rumor page or show page and so on. It also feels a bit excessive on videos and YouTube links, given the limited relevance. That said, this has provoked official responses (I really think the Big Bird twitter comment should be added here and seems more relevant than someone contacting the gallery which sells Caroll Spinney's artwork). The title would need fixing too (if nothing else, the comma and date placement are awkward). Basically, this is newish territory for us, so how do we handle it? -- Andrew Leal (talk) 20:32, October 6, 2012 (UTC)

And some of the stuff just added, like Jay Leno doing a bit with bird poo, *really* isn't relevant. Right now the whole thing is rather an awkward fit for our encyclopedic tone. We don't even have to cover every controversy that ever happens or comes up with the Muppets, just the most frequently occurring rumors or misconceptions and so on. If we keep this, it really needs to be scaled back and focused more closely on the relevant comments and the official response, with any stuff by comedians, editorial cartoonists, Facebook memes etc. either omitted or one sentence to note that it provoked widespread responses and reaction. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 20:42, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
I agree that we can't cover every time a politician or news anchor mentions a Muppet, but this obviously pretty huge. The kind of big response that we should document. As always, keep it NPOV and let the wiki process improve the article so that it conforms to our standards. —Scott (message me) 21:36, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
Right now, I'm going ahread and yanking out the Jay Leno bit. I'm a little unsure on all of the editorial comics, although it does park them in one place which may help. But any images that are not identified or sourced (the Big Bird in a line one, the car one), I'd say those should be removed. We also need to decide a limit on YouTube links. We normally don't have any for a mention unless it's hard to find. In several cases, linking to websites summarizing comments would be better than videos that could be pulled, and dates and context for follow-up comments are needed, and even the title is contradicted by the text title, which has the year at the beginning rather than the awkward ",2012." I'd say "2012 United States presidential election debates," while still unavoidably unwieldy by nature, looks a lot better and would be easier to link. Other clean-up issues too. I applaud Nick's thoroughness, but right now, much needs to be cited, cleaned up, and basically I think the keynote on any future responses is "Are they really that notable or interesting in themselves?" Noting the search term frenzy, yes, but Jay Leno's bit and every single thing like that, no. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 22:33, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
I'm parking the gallery here. Right now they have no context, no identification of who made them, and don't really add to the article in a way that simply saying "It sparked internet memes and visual responses" wouldn't cover. I'm also adding a link to the Toughpigs article at the bottom, and dropping the "someone asked the gallery owner" bit and instead adding the Big Bird twitter response. [Ah, never mind, I saw that was already added]. And I put a cite tag on the two Mitt Romney responses further down, including the Corn Flakes bit (not doubting them, but we need a source, and to clarify when he said this if we're to keep it organized). Still, it's a start, I think. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 22:43, October 6, 2012 (UTC)
I understand that this is a little odd and I'm glad you guys are doing clean-up, but the core idea of this page is amazing. I'm impressed! And who else is going to document and fact-check everything that people are saying about it? :) -- Danny @fandom 21:01, October 7, 2012 (UTC)
I'm going to go ahead and rename this page, as I mentioned earlier, 2012 United States presidential election debates. It's even how the title is on the page and it's less awkward (since we're handling it as a TV Mention, if anyone who taped the debate or has the intro knows how it's referred to, we can use that, but this seems best for linking). -- Andrew Leal (talk) 04:58, October 8, 2012 (UTC)
I'm just glad to see here exactly what I suspected - that this whole thing about Big Bird going away if funding for PBS were cut is just a big load. (Slightly OT: I don't have any strong feelings about the matter one way or the other, I just hate the disinformation.) And I'm kind of entertained that Romney didn't seem to realize that, because it would be a good point if any of these schmucks actually were smart enough to realize it, and use it. P.S.: Yes, very good article. ProfessorTofty (talk) 05:58, October 8, 2012 (UTC)

Obama ad

Obama campaign ad making use of Big Bird footage: It's actually pretty funny. -- Powers (talk) 15:03, October 9, 2012 (UTC)

Interesting. The video in question actually features Big Bird stating "It's me, Big Bird" and shows him sleeping in his nest. I wonder if they had to obtain permission to use the clips... ProfessorTofty (talk) 01:52, October 10, 2012 (UTC)
Likely it's fair use, but Sesame Workshop wants them to take the ad of the air: [1] Powers (talk) 17:33, October 10, 2012 (UTC)
I'm curious where they even got broadcast-quality clips from. If you didn't know they didn't have permission, you would think that the Workshop gave them the clips. We'll probably never know, but I'm guessing somebody took them off of a pre-existing DVD, since it looked too good to have come off of You Tube. -- Ken (talk) 06:48, October 11, 2012 (UTC)

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