Critics Accuse Sesame Street of ‘Anti-Conservative Bias’

Yes, people really are trying to ruin some of your fondest childhood memories.

By Jamilah King Jun 03, 2011

Some conservative talking heads have stooped to a new low and are going after Sesame Street, according to The Hollywood Insider. In this latest and laughable chapter of America’s culture wars, panelists on conservative Sean Hannity’s Fox News talk show argued that the beloved kids show actually dumbs down black and Latino youth and promotes so-called "anti-conservative discrimination" because it encourages parents to use gender neutral pronouns.

Author Ben Shapiro appeared on Hannity’s show to publicize his new book" Primetime Propoganda", which he says reveals liberal bias in Hollywood. "I kinda wanna take ’em outside and cap ’em," Shapiro disgustingly joked to Hannity. "I went and spoke to the biggest creators in TV over the last 50 years and had them admit to me on tape that yes, they bias their programming in a liberal direction, they discriminate against conservatives in Hollywood."

And then there’s this exchange, where Shapiro attempts to explain how Elmo is hurting America’s children:

Hannity: How is Elmo liberal?

Shapiro: I talked to one of the guys who was originally at Children’s Television Workshop originally, and he said that the whole purpose of Sesame Street was to cater to black and Hispanic youths who don’t have reading literature in the house…if you go on the Sesame Street website, it talked about ‘when you’re bringing up your child, make sure that you use gender neutral language. Make sure that you give your boys dolls and make sure that you give your girls firetrucks.

Which fellow panelist Ken Blackwell, who’s African-American and previously served as Ohio’s secretary of state, argued was a "direct assault on our country’s moral foundation." Former Miss America Kristen Haglund jumped in to appropriate feminist language and talk about the "hypersexualization of women" — and how she still managed to become a good conservative despite years of watching Sesame Street during her own childhood.

At least one Hollwood exec is now claiming that Shapiro’s reporting is ethically unsound. TV producer Vin Di Bona, who’s mentioned in Shapiro’s book, says that he was duped into an interview. Di Bona told Daily Variety that Shapiro "misrepresented the nature of that interview and subject of his book." 

Notably, Sesame Street made headlines late last year with its "I Love My Hair" episode. The adorable song was widely seen as a love ballad for black women’s often-maligned hair, and became a hit with everyone from kids still learning to love their hair to adults who no longer have any.