tv political satire not `correct'

A NEW Blackadder-style sitcom set in the White House of Abraham Lincoln is the focus of the latest anguished US debate on political correctness, with programme makers fending off pressure from the black community and the Los Angeles city council to pull the show off the air even before it has its premiere tonight.

The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer, put out by UPN, a subsidiary of Paramount, is a broad political satire whose main character is a black Englishman serving as Lincoln's butler. Although the show is packed with references to present-day political scandals and is not really about Lincoln, black activists are furious that serious issues like the Civil War and the struggle to end slavery have been turned into light comedy.