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Patrick Warburton wants no part of Bill O'Reilly's Patriot game

Actor Patrick Warburton says Bill O'Reilly incorrectly stated he had come to the defense of Sarah Palin when Warburton expressed his discomfort with a Down syndrome joke on Fox's animated sitcom "Family Guy" and he wants no part of "The O'Reilly Factor's" Patriot shtick.

"I wasn't defending Sarah Palin per se. She is an adult, a politician, and a public figure. She is subject to satire. She can handle herself," Warburton told The TV Column Thursday.

"My objection was the depiction of a specific 1 year old special needs child who could not defend himself. In my opinion, that violates the artistic norms of satire."

Warburton's referring to the "Pinheads & Patriots" segment of O'Reilly's Fox News Channel program in which he puts people-in-the-news into one category or the other. On Monday, O'Reilly honed in on Warburton:

"Mr. Warburton has come to the defense of Sarah Palin," O'Reilly said.

"It's very unusual for any actor to go against the liberal Hollywood Orthodoxy so Mr. Warburton is a Patriot."

It all started late last month when Warburton participated in a phone conference call to promote the return of CBS's "Rules of Engagement." During the call, The TV Column's "Family Guy" bureau chief Emily Yahr asked him about the episode. In addition to his primetime work on the CBS sitcom, Warburton also does the voice of Joe, a police officer who uses a wheelchair, on Fox's animated series "Family Guy." Warburton became familiar to TV audiences back when he played Elaine's boyfriend, Puddy, on NBC's "Seinfeld.

The former Alaska governor/GOP vice presidential contender, and her daughter, Bristol lashed out at "Family Guy" and at the "Fox Hollywood" network over the episode, in which a teenage girl character with Down syndrome says her mother was a former governor of Alaska. Sarah Palin's infant son has the same condition. Series creator Seth MacFarlane shrugged off their complaints with a statement about the show being an "equal-opportunity offender."

"I am not a paragon of virtue," Warburton said in e-mail to The TV Column.

"I participate in the process of Family Guy. Half of the things I do and say as the character "Joe" I find to be objectionable. It is the nature of satire. Ridicule, irony, sarcasm: it can all be a bit nasty, but it has to hit hard at times to take a bite."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 4, 2010; 1:08 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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"per say"?!?

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | March 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Family Guy is broadcast on FOX television!

...her employer.

Posted by: vigor | March 4, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Who needs litterucy when you're 'honing' in on someone? :-)

Posted by: EvilOverlord | March 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

FOX loves it. They get the anti-Sarah people and the pro-Sarah people.

Posted by: Section506 | March 4, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I watch FOX for "The Simpsons." Rest of the time, the TV's on other networks. Don't care what their "newspeople" think, say or spew.

Posted by: djmolter | March 4, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I get the pinhead part (he thinks someone did something dumb), but how does defending Sarah Palin, agreeing with O'Reilly, etc. make someone a patriot? Criticzing a TV show O'Reilly apparently doesn't like (note his downplaying of the network the show is on, which is not something he'd do if it were on NBC) is patriotic? I guess O'Reilly is so full of himself he thinks his deals are THE definition of patriotism. What a schmuck.

Posted by: Sutter | March 4, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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