Fact Check

Kansas to Black Out 'Cosmos' Show Over Controversies

Are Kansas legislators considering a bill that would force the Fox science show 'COSMOS' off the air in that state?

Published Apr 10, 2014


Claim:   Kansas legislators are considering a bill that would force the science show
COSMOS off the air in that state.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, September 2013]

Is Kansas really trying to pass a law that would block Cosmos on its stations?


Origins:   On 7 April 2014, the National Report published an article positing that Kansas legislators were pondering a bill that would force the Fox television network's science show
COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, off the air in that state:

The Fox television show COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey has attracted its fair share of detractors since the docudrama first aired on March 9th. But soon, the controversy revolving around the show might reach climactic new heights, as several State senators in Kansas will propose a bill on Thursday that would force Fox affiliates in their state to black out the science show completely.

The bill, which many are expecting will pass, would force local Kansas television stations affiliated with Fox to pay steep fines for airing the program. Should any network continue to air all thirteen episodes of the show's first season, the State would move to revoke their broadcasting privileges completely, driving those networks off the air.

By the following day links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered the item mistaking it for a genuine news article. Although the COSMOS program has prompted controversy among some groups, such as creationists

who demanded they receive an opportunity for equal airtime to present their ideas on how the universe was formed (and one episode's 20-second discussion of evolution was cut by an Oklahoma Fox affiliate station who — accidentally, they maintained — ran a local news promo over it), there are no legislative efforts underway in Kansas or any other state to bar the airing of that series.

The article about a potential Kansas ban on COSMOS broadcasts was just a bit of satire from the National Report, a web site that publishes outrageous fictional stories such as "IRS Plans to Target Leprechauns Next," "Boy Scouts Announce Boobs Merit Badge," and "New CDC Study Indicates Pets of Gay Couples Worse at Sports, Better at Fashion Than Pets of Straight Couples."

The National Report's disclaimer page notes that:

National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.

Last updated:   10 April 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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