It’s “Sesame Street” meets the unseemly side of politics. With cameras barred from a high-profile corruption trial, a Cleveland, Ohio, television station has puppets acting out the steamy testimony about hookers, gambling and sexually transmitted diseases. In one scene, a furry hand stuffs cash down the shirt of a puppet prostitute. WOIO news director Dan Salamone brought up the idea of using the puppets to lampoon the trial and give a glimpse of what’s happening in the federal courtroom. Because cameras aren’t allowed, other stations have relied on artist sketches of the proceedings and videos of longtime Democratic power broker Jimmy Dimora walking into court. The puppets are in addition to the station’s regular coverage of Dimora’s trial. Although some people have criticized the station for blurring the lines between news and entertainment, Salamone defended the segments, saying it’s no different from when newscasts end with a lighter, humorous story. Oklahoma has its own share of trials that easily could be lampooned similarly.
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