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Panda…In A Nice Béarnaise Sauce

So some of us here at Public Eye have been grousing that CBSNews.com has spent an awful lot of time talking panda. Tai Shan, to be exact – the Smithsonian National Zoo's panda in residence. This week the site featured stories titled "Reporters Get First Peek At Panda" and "Tai Shan Ready For Close-Up." There was video titled "Baby Panda Meets The Public" and "Baby Panda Makes Debut."

As CBSNews.com readers, we were starting to get awful sick of that panda. But we never wrote about it, because, well, there was a simple reason for all those stories: Everybody loves pandas. At least so we were told. So we kept our traps shut.

Friday, however, brought news that the panda backlash was spreading. On the internal critique board of the Washington Post, which has also been panda-obsessed, Posties began fantasizing about what they might do with Tai Shan. And it wasn't pretty. Fishbowl DC brings the noise:

Keith B. Richburg:
Hey, Ed, by this point -- after the birth-watch, the Panda-cam, the graphics, the stick-of-butter analogies, the naming contest, the weigh-ins and medical checks etc. etc -- I'd like to stuff that darned bear and shove him on somebody's mantle place.
Michael Powell:
As a literal-minded colleague has taken me to task for promoting pernicious panda-pandering, I'd like to make clear that I'm very much in the stuff-em, mount-'em school. In fact, we have this lovely and barren wall in the NY bureau ...
Keith B. Richburg
...I was actually thinking the panda would look nice in the baghdad bureau, mounted atop the perimeter blast wall.
Michael Powell:
In a bearnaise sauce, fine bordeaux on the side ...
Courtland T. Milloy:
I suggest publishing for six consecutive days, starting on a Monday, an 11 x 14 color photo of the panda on the front page with someone holding a .357 magnum to his head (Keith? Tamara? Michael? Me?) and a caption that reads: "If you don't buy this newspaper, the bear gets it and gets it good." Even as street sales skyrocket, we pretend not to notice and run another photo Sunday of a blob shape chalk line on a zoo walk path above the cutline: "And on the seventh day Ty Shawn rested." Just imagine: for one week, no need for rails or zoning.
It almost makes you feel bad for the little guy. Almost.