Monday, November 8, 2021

CNN defends Big Bird after Ted Cruz calls one of the character's tweets 'Propaganda,' a pandemic update

Soon after the CDC endorsed vaccinations for children 5-11, the Twitter account for Sesame Street's Big Bird tweeted a pro-vaccination public service announcement. That led to Republican politicians attacking Big Bird. CNN reported on the most notable of them in ‘Propaganda’: Ted Cruz sounds off at Big Bird for promoting vaccine.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went on a Twitter rant about Big Bird’s effort to promote coronavirus vaccines. CNN’s John Berman takes a look at Sesame Street’s long history of promoting childhood vaccines.
I've seen this movie before, as I noted in my tweet about this flap.
This did not go well for Romney when he went after Big Bird 9 years ago. For once, I'm glad he and the rest of the Sesame Street characters are now on HBO instead of PBS, so Congress can't threaten the show anymore.
That should have been "in addition to," not "instead of," as Vox reported that "Sesame Street" episodes are available on PBS nine months after they air on HBO, but the basic idea that Congress can no longer threaten the show by cutting funding to PBS is still true and that someone not dependent on public funding can fight back.

This deal also means that "Sesame Street" belongs to the same stable of cable channels as CNN, as both are part of WarnerMedia, so CNN is protecting one of the parent company's shows when it defends Big Bird. Doing so is in its interest, which, in this case, helps the public interest in fighting the pandemic. Still, my readers should keep that relationship in mind when watching the clip above. It's not just news value that's driving it.

I close by reminding my readers about what I wrote the first time I saw something like this happen.
My take on why this blew up in Romney's face was that he ran afoul of what motivates Americans to act.
America is quite clear about its screwed up priorities­. My experience has convinced me that the surest way to get Americans to act is to mess with their entertainment.
By attacking Big Bird and the rest of the cast of Sesame Street, Willard the Rat has messed with Americans' entertainment. This will not end well for him.
I don't think it will end well for Cruz, either.


  1. "...the surest way to get Americans to act is to mess with their entertainment."

    Bread and circuses, only hold the bread.

    1. Pretty much. I don't think the protests during the summer of 2020 would have been as big or as widely covered if live sports hadn't been suspended during the pandemic.