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Left-wing activists are defending Sesame Street from attacks waged against it in a new book, and are attacking its author for using violent rhetoric Wednesday during an interview on Sean Hannity’s TV show.
Ben Shapiro, author of the book Primetime Propaganda, was also put on the defensive when one of his targets, TV producer Vin Di Bona, said he was duped into participation.
During an appearance on the Fox News Channel, Hannity told Shapiro: “Every kid in America is gonna hate you. You’re taking on Elmo and Sesame Street and Big Bird in your book.”
STORY: TV Executives Admit in Taped Interviews That Hollywood Pushes a Liberal Agenda (Exclusive Video)
That’s when Shapiro joked: “I kind of wanna take em out back and cap em.”
That was Strike 1, as far as some liberal activists were concerned.
Shapiro then described an interview with Mike Dann, who left CBS to join the Children’s Television Workshop as vp and work on Sesame Street in its early days.
“(Dann) said the whole purpose of Sesame Street was to cater to black and Hispanic youths who, quote-unquote, do not have reading literature in the house,” Shapiro told Hannity. “There’s kind of this soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Video of Shapiro’s interview with Dann is posted below.
Shapiro also ridiculed the Sesame Street website for promoting “gender-neutral language. Make sure you give your boys dolls and make sure you give your girls fire trucks.”
Another guest, Ken Blackwell, the former secretary of state for Ohio, complained that the sort of gender-neutral advice promoted by Sesame Street has led to a high school choosing a gay boy as its prom queen.
Video of the Hannity segment is also posted below.
All of this was too much for the liberal watchdog group Media Matters, which posted video at its DropFox.com website and is using it to try to convince advertisers to pull their ads off of FNC.
A gay rights website called The New Civil Rights Movement also posted the video along with a sharp rebuke of Shapiro, Hannity and Blackwell, as well as the fourth guest on the segment, Kirsten Haglund, a former Miss America.
Shapiro’s “cap em” joke, according to the group’s website, “represents how flip the right is about violence and murder.” The group also calls the Family Research Council, where Blackwell is a senior fellow, “a certified hate group.”
Separately, Di Bona has been trying to convince Hollywood that the only reason he allowed Shapiro to interview him was because he was purposely misled.
Di Bona told Daily Variety that Shapiro “misrepresented the nature of that interview and subject matter of his book.”
Shapiro responded by sharing a partial transcript from the interview, where he tells Di Bona the book is about “the social content of television.”
Di Bona is one of several Hollywood executives Shapiro interviewed, and he is using video snippets of those encounters to promote the book, subtitled “The true Hollywood story of how the left took over your TV.”
In one video featuring Di Bona he confirms the anti-gun messages that were routinely inserted into episodes of MacGyver, a show he produced two decades ago, and in another he opines on the lack of conservatives working in Hollywood and adds: “I’m happy about it.” Those videos, along with others featuring different TV executives, were revealed by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
Contacted late Thursday, Di Bona sought to clarify things he said during his interview with Shapiro.
“If in any way it was construed that I supported quashing another point of view, in any way or fashion, this is not the spirit of the statement,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was a reflection on a statement that many of Hollywood producers and directors support a liberal point of view. The freedom of speech and the ability to air one’s opinion is the most precious thing we have in our society. I believe in my point of view but not to the detriment of freedom of speech.”
“Good for Di Bona for backing down from his horrific position,” Shapiro said late Thursday. “I’m glad my book has prompted him to lead the way in reversing his prior support for anti-conservative discrimination. I hope the rest of Hollywood follows his lead.”
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