The premiere of "Cosmos," a rebooted science documentary series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, was ripe for some sort of controversy. But one Oklahoma TV station has come under fire for allegedly censoring the program.
Here's the original clip, where Tyson mentions humanity's biological ancestors. "We stood up and parted ways with them. Once we were standing on two feet, our eyes were no longer fixated on the ground." (Via Fox / "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey")
But if you live in Oklahoma City, and were watching the show on KOKH, this is what you saw:
"It's 9:45 on New Year's Eve."
"Coming up tonight at 9, the new evidence showing our biggest earthquake could have been man-made." (Via YouTube / Adam Bates)
Whoops. That 15-second local news spot ran right over Tyson's brief discussion of human evolution, ending only when the host returned to early human history.
KOKH apologized for the edit on Twitter Wednesday, blaming it on "operator error." You don't have to scroll very far down in the comments to see that some people aren't buying it.
And several media outlets are skeptical, too — io9 has some pretty big air quotes around the "accidental" part of this story, and Mediaite wonders if the cut was "a deliberate effort by that Oklahoma station to scrub evolution from Cosmos' premiere."
But the Los Angeles Times gives the station the benefit of the doubt, noting another scene, in which Tyson explains how life on land evolved from the oceans, was left untouched.
And a The Raw Story blogger points out KOKH can hardly keep evolution out of "Cosmos" forever.
"If this was intentional and not a mistake, so many questions arise, starting with, 'Well, how will they deal with the next episode?' You know, the one he was talking about that’s coming up next, where the history of human evolution promises to be dealt with at length?"
According to Nielsen, the "Cosmos" premiere drew in 8.5 million viewers across 10 different networks.