It’s Not About Sesame Street


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The mainstream media seems content to focus on one aspect of my new book, Primetime Propaganda: its discussion of Sesame Street.  The UK Independent led off the publicity campaign for the book with an analysis of the children’s television show, and the left-leaning media quickly followed suit, jumping on the Sesame Street critique to push the notion that I was a Jerry Falwell-esque character seeking to locate gay Teletubbies.  This, of course, was absurd – particularly because an entire section of the book explains why the Teletubbies are not gay, why nobody should worry about Spongebob SquarePants and Patrick, and why finding conspiracies in children’s shows is a chimerical exercise.  The Left was attempting to paint me as a kook to avoid facing down the devastating tape I released of top Hollywood figures admitting to propagandizing through their shows and acknowledging that conservatives are discriminated against in Hollywood.  All the Left wanted to talk about was Elmo.

So when I appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News last Wednesday night, I joked about the media’s attempt at misdirection.  “Every kid in America is gonna hate you,” Sean said.  “You’re taking on Elmo and Sesame Street and Big Bird in your book.”

“I kind of wanna take ‘em out back and cap ‘em,” I laughed.

Naturally, the Left went nuts – mainly because many on the Left are already nuts.  The New Civil Rights Movement, a gay interest group, labeled my comments the latest example of “how flip the right is about violence and murder.”  A commenter at one prominent left-wing website even suggested that rhetoric like mine led to the shooting of Gabby Giffords.  George Soros-funded Media Matters focused in on Ken Blackwell’s comments on the Hannity panel in which he talked about how gender confusion is problematic – and then stated, “this kind of rhetoric that attacks the very idea of LGBT people being allowed to live as they are is all too common on Fox.”  Then, Media Matters actually called for a boycott of the network.

Note to liberals: Elmo and Big Bird are not real people.  They are actually puppets, and technically, they cannot be killed.  So don’t worry – you can sleep safe.  I promise, I will not take violent action against any puppet of any kind.  And as for Media Matters – get a life, and learn to speak English.

It’s all too typical of the Left to focus on something completely irrelevant to the topic at hand when faced with inconvenient facts.  When James O’Keefe busted ACORN by posing as a pimp and asking for tax help, the Left immediately latched onto the fact that O’Keefe wasn’t actually dressed in a pimp costume, labeling that irrelevant tidbit the “pimp hoax.”  Media Matters led the charge on that one, ignoring ACORN’s aid to faux sex slavers in favor of what O’Keefe happened to be wearing that day.

When Andrew Breitbart picked up on Anthony Weiner’s tweet of his bulging jockeys this week, the leftist rearguard ignored the fact that a married Congressman was sending out lewd pics of his genitals, and instead tried to focus its fire on Andrew personally.  Some of them suggested that Andrew or his associates had hacked Weiner’s Twitter account to get the photos, or that they had been planted there by third parties related to Andrew.

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  • autdrew

    I enjoyed reading your book very much. The very night I finished I was able to see it immediately in an episode of Bones. Thank you very much for your brave writing & stand in the onslaught of ridiculousness that is modern media tours. Good luck to you!

  • Tanstaafl

    Wait – does this mean that Santa Claus is not real?

    All levity aside, PBS (and Bert and Ernie) don't need government support. Go into any toy store and look at all the PBS-based toys. I know this will shock some, but Sesame Street is a capitalist success story.

  • Questions

    Big Bird and other PBS icons aren't just for "Leftists." You can be a good conservative and watch the network. Bill Buckley's "Firing Line," for one, was broadcast on PBS.

    Ben Shapiro can't hack the fact that most of the "liberal propaganda" on the networks is based on his highly selective and subjective view of reality. I grow depressed over the prospect of his fatuous book becoming a bestseller.

    • Dan

      Firing Line ended in 1999! It is the only conservative show that I can ever recall on PBS. Is that the best you can do in claiming PBS is balanced? No wonder the left is in trouble.

      • Questions

        Most shows on PBS aren't liberal or conservative. They're simply not political. Note to culture warriors: Not all culture is reduceable to political interpretation and mass mobilization, a fact apparently lost on people like Ben Shapiro and yourself.

        By the way, I'm a longstanding conservative. Projecting motive onto others is always a risky venture.

        • Rifleman

          Everything is political to the left, that's socialism. Health care, energy, education, entertainment, transportation, housing, food, employment, retirement, finance…what isn't a government responsibility and a political question to socialists? Lol, they even politicized the weather. “Not all culture is reducible…” – but socialism clearly is.

    • eMuse5

      "Highly selective and subjective"?? He interviews people who wield the power at the networks and the creators of some of the biggest shows in modern TV. All is thoroughly documented with bios, direct quotes, filmed interviews, etc. You simply can't lamely try to cry "subjective" in the face of so much evidence. Give it a read!

    • grethel

      Well, It will become a best seller. Your depression is late to the game as so many of us turned off certain entertainment shows (all the Law and Orders) long ago with no road map from anyone else…just the tiresome nature of "torture" rearing its ugly head with no effort to fit it into a story line well. It was just the moment to rant about torture. Once we recoiled from that it was blatantly obvious in other shows as well. We're not stupid you know (Do you know that?)

  • trickyblain

    A man who devotes days and weeks and months anaylizing Sesame Street in search of "liberal bias" tells Media Matters to "get a life"? Okay…

    And Katy Perry? Perverse? Not really into her music, but if that's what a perverse woman looks like, I'm all for perversion!

  • trickyblain

    Oh, and if you want to "change the nature of Hollywood itself," you are more than free to do so. Go take your proceeds form this book and buy yourself a production studio. Make your kind of programming. Put it on the airwaves. Let the market decide. But be warned — there's a reason shows like The Half-hour Comedy Hour fail spectacularly and shows like The Daily Show are hits. Conservatives generally aren't funny or very creative.

    • Dan

      Shapiro documents all too well how conservatives are "black listed" in Hollywood. The only way a conservative can make it in Hollywood now, is to hide his/her conservatism. It is ironic in the extreme how Hollywood leftists, who bemoan the "black lists" of the McCarthy era, practice it so willfully and gleefully today.

    • AbsolutelyRight

      Yeah your right David Zucker isn't very funny and David Mamet isn't very creative…your a dope Blaine..and Ann Coulter is funnier than all your leftists comedians and far more intelligent

  • Jim_C

    These guys much prefer victimhood, tricky. Whining is much easier.

    One guy put his money where his mouth was–the guy who made the Atlas Shrugged movie. When it sank like a stone, he blamed the big bad movie critics for panning it…yeah…that must be why Michael Bay is in the poorhouse, right? His career is made of bad reviews. Typical Rand-ian: big talking crybabies.

    • Questions

      Actually, the critics generally liked the first "Transformers." Michael Bay, one way or the other, isn't fazed by reviews.

    • Dan

      Atlas Shrugged (the novel) has maintained consistent good sales for half a century and must be considered one of the most popular novels of all time. Victimhood is the preference of the political left and it is a perpetual state of existence. There have been many great conservatives movies produced, back when there was some variety of thought in Hollywood. One of my all time favorites is "On The Waterfront" with Marlon Brando.

  • Ferret

    What about "Top Cat" ?

  • Dan

    Then why have leftists made a cottage industry of crying about the Hollywood blacklists of the 1950s? You can't have it both ways. My position is that black lists of any kind are immoral. Apparently you think they are OK as long as the black list is made up of conservatives. How liberal of you.

  • crypticguise

    My wife and I made a decision a long time ago to NOT watch ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, PBS and any other left-wing, liberal drivle. Sports, Discovery, the History Channel and a short list of specific non-liberal shows. If they are not lying about the news, they are producing GARBAGE.

  • Ghostwriter

    While conservatives have yet to make a successful movie or tv show,don't count us out. We just may surprise you. "The Half Hour Comedy Hour" may not have been successful,that doesn't mean that another conservative show won't be. There are creative conservatives out there. They're just not as well-known.

  • Dan

    National Review has a list of the their top 25 conservative movies of all time. I agree with most of the selections but would add "A Man for All Seasons" near the top.
    http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=YWQ4MDlh

  • Luis

    Hollywood hasn't gotten a dime of this family's money for 30 years. We do not watch commercial tv nor obvious lib/lefty nonsense life the PBS garbage. It is that easy. It is time for Americans to act on what Shapiro found in his study.

  • KrlyQ

    I find it amazing that so many comments still focus on Sesame Street in light of the fact that the title of this article is "IT'S NOT ABOUT SESAME STREET". The purpose of the article was to clearly show the typical Alinsky-ite tactics of the Left and what do the Leftist zombies do; post comments using Alinsky-ite tactics in their continued attempt at misdirection. I agree with Dan; "No wonder the Left is in trouble"! They have completely run out of ideas or sensible arguments.
    Besides, any sane person knows that the book did not dedicate all 416 of its pages to Sesame Street!

  • GETZEL

    TO UNDERSTAND BENS INTERESTS BETTER YOU MUST READ HIS OTHER "BESTSELLING "BOOK THE PORN GENERATION THAT SAYS IT ALL

  • Christian4Life

    Even though I'm sure it wasn't his true intention, but Ben Shapiro pretty much admitted there is too much Jewish liberal influence in American mass media. And anti-Christian at that.

    Oh, course if Christians only pointed this out, we'd be accused of being anti-Semites.
    Maybe Mr. Shapiro's next book should be an exposé on how the powerful Jewish Left discriminates against Christians.
    http://www.truthtellers.org/alerts/benshapiroigno

  • Horace

    Sesame Street is set, though not overtly, in The Bronx, in NYC. It was different from other shows for children in that it was set in a less wealthy part of a city and had mixed race cast. The children on the show matched the demographic of the neighborhood. Why is giving that market a show about them "propaganda"? Does the fact that the neighbors were maybe all positive role models and got along bad, even though it might not be realistic? I don't recall Sesame Street being dirty or run down, maybe I have rose colored glasses. Oscar lived in a garbage can – he's also a furry green monster. The neighbors lived in apartments.

    Now the statement that the development folks at CTW believed black and Puerto Rican kids in NYC didn't have reading material at home but had a TV seems silly, though believable as something someone might believe. Before mocking it, it would be good to know if it was true. I'm betting not, but then many of own students in 2011 don't read books, magazines, or newspapers, or the Internet. They don't have library cards, even though cards are free. They watch TV, play video games, or look at YouTube. Some maybe it was true in 1969 in NYC?

    Some of the other videos were really strong, but the Sesame Street one is weak. Maybe the book does a better job on children's programming.