Murphy Brown was a newswoman known for conducting aggressive interviews with world leaders on the television newsmagazine FYI. In the spring of 1992, she attracted national scrutiny when her decision to carry a baby to term and raise him on her own, without the active participation of the child's father, was criticized by Vice President Dan Quayle.
"It doesn't help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice."
Yes, Murphy Brown was a fictional character played by Candace Bergen on the CBS television program of the same name. In Murphy Brown, where most intelligent people would see an assertive successful woman making the most of her life, Dan Quayle saw someone who epitomized the loss of "family values" in public American life. In a fall, 1992 television episode, Murphy found herself needing to remind him that families come in all shapes and sizes and each is worthy of respect.
Indeed, Vice President Quayle's response to the controversy was quite prophetic.
"Murphy Brown is doing better than I am. At least she knows she still has a job next year."