By Cathy Jameson
Growing up, I loved Sesame Street. Blessed to receive a toy that was the actual Sesame Street street, it was a perfect Fisher Price toy that sparked playtime fun. When I became a parent, my children also watched Sesame Street and also got to play with my old toys, to include playing with my Fisher Price Little People. Treasured items of mine, I wanted my kids to have an opportunity to create similar memories that I had with characters that I once cherished.
Some days I’d be grateful that a kids’ show like Sesame Street was on when my children were younger. For the few minutes I’d let them watch TV by themselves, I could switch a load of laundry or catch up on phone calls or emails. The show had gone from mostly education and entertaining to political by the time my kids started watching, though. I didn’t wander off too far because of that. I wanted to hear the conversations the Muppets and puppets were having.
Some conversations were about typical-kid related things.
Some were getting a too little edgy.
With how quickly the television as well as paid pharmaceutical commercials were influencing my very young children, we knew we had to do something. We immediately turned off the cable.
We have no regrets that of pulling the plug. We stream what we want to watch now, or we catch up on news and coverage of other events online. I know we can’t screen every commercial or juvenile skit that my children may see when they’re on the internet. But we can shield them from some of the propaganda and normalizing the media is advertising. If I haven’t been able to do that, we talk about what they or we have recently seen and heard. Looking at the ridiculousness of what the media has been allowed to do can spark quite a discussion! It helps me know that they understand the manipulation that’s happening to today’s youth, and it gives me a chance to talk to my kids about what we as a family would like to support. I can remind them of what we absolutely will not support in those conversations, too.
The latest example we talked about was injecting make-believe characters on one of my favorite childhood shows and the commentary that followed it. My older kids could see through the propaganda. “They’re making it look like it’s normal and safe.” “I hate that word effective that they throw around with this sort of stuff. It’s been so overused.” My youngest immediately questioned the act itself, “Why would they do that? They’re not real, and they’re not even people.”
If the media and our government didn’t advertise pharmaceutical products to children, I wouldn’t worry so much about what my kids and their peers are being exposed to. The FDA clearly states the practice of advertising drugs to kids is not allowed.
So why are children’s characters on daytime television shows being vaccinated on air today? Because, technically, it might not be advertising. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/prescription-drug-advertising/basics-drug-ads Craftily woven into part of the show’s dialogue, these types of segments are not paid commercials in the traditional sense.
Does that make it ethical?
I don’t think so.
But the show, or the corporations that run and support it, get to promote liability-free pharmaceutical products anyway. Just like adult celebrities https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0rdgTyj2sg endorsing the shots in the early stages of the roll out, younger Americans are now being influenced by their “celebs” to also get the COVID shot.
It’s too bad because Sesame Street has used their platform to talk about recoverable illnesses and natural remedies before. Happily, with time, Oscar did go back to his normal, grouchy self after catching the Grouch Flu.
With rest and some support from friends, Big Bird didn’t need to be so anxious because he did get through the short-lived Birdy Pox.
While those episodes promoted a simpler path toward recovery, the show’s taken the opportunity to promote vaccines before, like when Elmo teamed up with the Surgeon General in 2015.
With that guest appearance, it really was no surprise that Elmo’s daddy and another Muppet would talk about getting the COVID jab on the show recently. Even so, it’s disappointing that the children’s entertainment industry eagerly hawked products that can cause injury and death.
While not mentioned by name, the adults in charge of the children watching the show know which specific vaccine the characters received, even if it’s a pretend one going in. As for the real ones going into the arms of real children as young as 5-years old, (and soon to be 6-month olds) it should matter that both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, two of three COVID19 vaccine manufacturers, have faced legal action that resulted in massive fines. It should matter that children’s companies, both non- and for-profit, are pushing a biased narrative. It should matter that the narrative ignores that long-term studies of a still experimental vaccine have yet to be conducted. And it does matter that gaining natural immunity post illness, something that used to be recognized and respected, doesn’t account for anything. US Surgeon General Murthy recognizes and made a point to talk about antibodies in one of the older videos above. He says that, “Antibodies are like superheroes. They can spot the germs a mile away and take them out before they ever make you sick.” But like other television doctors insist, antibodies only count if you get them from a vial.
With that kind of misinformation being heavily promoted on all media sources and for all ages to see, children these days won’t learn to trust their own immune system as well as younger generations could. They’ll find themselves trusting a false narrative or worse, trusting a false prophet. I have a feeling that that’s going to cause some sticky situations, which could’ve been avoided, in the not so distant future.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.