Fox took science nerds by surprise when they chose to bring back Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a reboot of the 1980s Carl Sagan documentary series that critics have praised for its promotion and support of big scientific ideas.
But despite Neil deGrasse Tyson's attempt to bring hard planetary news to the masses, not all of the message got through. A local Fox affiliate in Oklahoma, KOKH, broadcast the show on Sunday night, but apparently chose cut off a very brief segment of the first episode where Tyson mentions evolution. Woops.
A eagle-eyed viewer caught the suspicious edit, as flagged by Raw Story, and noted that moment when 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 were standing on two feet, our eyes were no longer fixated on the ground. Now, we were free to look up and wonder.
The rather tame, seconds-long allusion to evolution was replaced, for viewers of the local Fox station in Oklahoma City, by an ad for the evening news:
The station issued a mea culpa on Twitter Wednesday night, blaming the glitch on an operator's error:
Sunday, during @COSMOSonTV, a local news promo was aired over a portion of COSMOS content. This was an operator error & we regret the error.— KOKH FOX 25 (@OKCFOX) March 12, 2014
Some, however, weren't convinced that this was an honest mistake:
It's worth mentioning that Oklahoma has already tried to pass two anti-science education bills this year, including one that encourages teachers to "help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught." You know, theories like evolution.