Kids’ Show Accused of Pushing Ideological Barrow
A new book claims that television shows such as Sesame Street propagate radical left-wing ideology. Newspapers across the world - including this Telegraph report, taken up in The Age - have reported on the publication of Primetime Propaganda, by US conservative columnist Ben Shapiro. Shapiro interviewed leading producers of shows like Sesame Street, and concluded they are trying to “shape America in their own leftist image”. This is how the Independent summarised the book’s findings: “The TV series Friends undermined family values; Sesame Street taught ethnic minorities about civil disobedience; Happy Days had a subtle anti-Vietnam subtext; and the 1980s cop show MacGyver tried to persuade pistol-packing Americans that guns are bad”.
It’s not the first time Sesame Street or its host network, the Public Broadcasting Service, have come under political fire - and it tends to come from both sides of politics. Sesame Street has regularly been accused of promoting a gay agenda. However, it’s also been criticised for its depiction of women and Latinos as well as for being “too wholesome” - here’s a Time review from 1970. In that same year, in just its second season, it was banned in the southern US state of Mississippi. Conversely, in 1973, Sesame Street was denounced in the USSR as “the latest example of United States cultural imperialism”. Rock, meet hard place. As of 2009, the show had won 118 Emmy awards.
Happy International Children’s Day.