A left-wing “children’s advocacy” group known as the “Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood” is committed to ridding the airwaves of any hint of children’s advertising in order to protect their malleable minds from corporate greed. That includes banning certain advertising on “American Idol.”
Sorry, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. You will just have to get rid of those cups emblazoned with the logo of that demon of American capitalism – Coca Cola – from your judging table.
Like all true progressive groups, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood does not trust the decisions of individuals – in this case, the parents – to decide what their children should watch or buy. Government must step in to prohibit all marketing that can possibly be seen or heard by children.
This group has gone so far as to lobby the Federal Trade Commission to extend the ban that already exists on product placement on children’s television
to include prime time programs, such as American Idol, that are not covered by the ban and are watched by millions of children
In addition to going after “American Idol” and Coca Cola, the Coalition Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has targeted American icons ranging from Disney to Ronald McDonald.
Susan Linn, co-founder and director of the Coalition, makes no bones about her anti-capitalism philosophy. She contends that corporations are inherently bad in their attempt to use advertising to manipulate children’s minds for profits. In her view, even when companies contribute to education projects, they do so only for the purpose of ensnaring the kids into becoming consumers. And corporate messaging of any type to children is wrong, she says, not only for the kids today who are becoming the victims of the “commercialization of childhood,” but also because it contributes, I kid you not, to global warming:
the same generation of children that is being encouraged to prioritize wealth, consumption, and possessions is the same generation that, if current trends continue, will need to drastically reduce its consumption patterns so as to prevent further global climate disruption, habitat loss, and species extinction. As readers of Solutions well know, each of these environmental problems is due in part to people’s consumption behaviors, and particularly to over-consumption on the part of people living in the Western world.
Ms. Linn believes that only the government can protect our kids. She points to the examples of other countries:
The United States regulates marketing to children less than most industrialized democracies. In the Canadian province of Quebec, marketing to children under 13 is banned on television. And in Norway and Sweden, it’s banned to children under the age of 12. In Greece, you can’t advertise toys until after 10 p.m.
Greece as a role model? I don’t think so.
Beyond prohibiting all marketing to children, Ms. Linn advocates mandating that companies use profits from advertising on their adult programming to provide quality educational children’s programming. And she wants to expand tax-payer funded public broadcasting. No wonder. There would be more money to manipulate our kids’ minds in a far Left direction.
The Coalition Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s latest target is the children’s publishing company, Scholastic Inc.
In an editorial today, the New York Times praised the “children’s advocacy” group for challenging Scholastic‘s sinful decision to take some ‘dirty’ coal money from the American Coal Foundation in producing a fourth-grade lesson packet called “the United States of Energy.” The sin was that the lesson plan supposedly provided a “one-sided” view of coal usage, talking about its benefits but omitting its detriments.
The Times doesn’t bother to mention that the lesson packet’s large U.S. map includes icons for coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, oil, wind, natural gas, and solar energy. And on the website page for Scholastic‘s “United States of Energy” lesson plan there is a clearly marked link to a “Celebrate Earth Day” page which contains lessons and activities to “help promote environmental awareness for Earth Day and throughout the year.”
There is a further link from the “Celebrate Earth Day” page to a kids’ activism site based on the book The Down-to-Earth-Guide to Global Warming. Who was the co-author for that particular Scholastic project? Laurie David, a global warming activist and the producer of Al Gore’s propaganda-filled “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Scholastic is clearly providing teaching materials covering all dimensions of the energy and environmental issues, incorporating contributions from the Al Gore school of global warming theology as well as from energy industry sources. Teaching critical thinking involves teaching children how to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information gathered from multiple sources to arrive at reasoned conclusions based on factual evidence.
But the far left group Coalition Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, supported by the left-wing New York Times, wants only its anti-American capitalism messages heard by our children. And no more Coca Cola logos on “American Idol!”
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.