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Puppet court

by Mel Bracht and The Oklahoman Editorial Board Modified: June 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm •  Published: January 27, 2012
A puppet representing defense attorney Andrea Whitaker cross-examines a Ferris Kleem puppet during taping at WOIO-TV in Cleveland Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. The station uses the puppets performing as witnesses, reporters and jurors to detail the corruption trial against former Cuyahoga county commissioner Jimmy Dimora, which began last week in federal court in Akron. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
A puppet representing defense attorney Andrea Whitaker cross-examines a Ferris Kleem puppet during taping at WOIO-TV in Cleveland Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. The station uses the puppets performing as witnesses, reporters and jurors to detail the corruption trial against former Cuyahoga county commissioner Jimmy Dimora, which began last week in federal court in Akron. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

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.


by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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