Accusing Peppa Pig of ‘shocking violence’ isn't just cartoon nonsense… it’s a reflection of adult-level MSM mendacity
Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo
The media are deliberately misrepresenting a study to stoke panic over alleged violence in the children’s animated show Peppa Pig. Across the political spectrum the headlines have been absurdly alarming. “ASSAULT ON PEPPA: Peppa Pig and Disney’s Frozen are too violent for Children, experts claim” shrieks the right-wing The Sun, while the more left-leaning Independent breathlessly declares, “Peppa Pig: Experts Find Shocking Levels of Violence in Children’s TV Show”.
According to the media, it isn’t just Peppa but also Daniel Tiger, The Octonauts, Paw Patrol as well as Toy Story 3 and 4, Frozen, Finding Dory and a handful of other kids’ shows and movies that are supposedly deemed to be too violent.
As a vigilant and diligent parent of a young child who routinely watches Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, The Octonauts and Daniel Tiger, I find these headlines and their revelations alarming. The Sun’s and The Independent’s stories had me deeply concerned that I was allowing my child to be exposed to violent and damaging material via Peppa Pig.
I myself have watched countless hours of these shows with my child and found them to be rather benign and good-hearted children’s programs, so I wanted to learn more about the ‘shocking violence’ that experts discovered of which I was apparently blissfully blind.
According to The Independent, “A new study looking into violence featured in animated series and films found that more than eight moments of pain and brutality were inflicted across a selected range of entertainment aimed at children.”
As I read the Independent story further though, a bunch of red flags popped up. For example, the thin article made a bizarre shift in its closing three paragraphs when it dropped the violence angle altogether in order to inform readers that actress Harley Bird, who voiced Peppa, recently stepped down from the role after 13 years. I was expecting to read that Ms. Bird had been brutalized while working on the show or had turned into a violent hooligan, but no, the article just ended with that odd whimper of a factoid.
The biggest red flag of all, though, was that neither The Sun nor The Independent ever linked to the supposed “study of violence in children’s entertainment” they were referencing, nor did they include the name of the journal in which it was allegedly published. Being the intrepid non-reporter that I am, I did what The Sun and The Independent’s actual reporters hoped readers wouldn’t do, and searched for the report.
Upon finding the study in everybody’s favorite magazine, Pain: The Journal of the International Association of the Study of Pain, I was shocked to learn that not only are Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Daniel Tiger not viciously violent shows creating serial killers and sociopaths, but that the “study” in question has absolutely NOTHING AT ALL to do with violence.Also on rt.com Not fireman, it’s firefighter! Fire Brigade mocked after accusing Peppa Pig of ‘sexism’
The study is actually titled“The socio-cultural context of pediatric pain: an examination of the portrayal of pain in children’s popular media”.And it wasn’t investigating “violence featured in animated series and films” but rather how kids’ entertainment presents pain and reactions to pain on-screen.
The banal study concluded, “A narrow depiction of pain was presented in children’s popular media, with an overall underrepresentation of pain, numerous maladaptive portrayals of pain, and gender differences in both sufferer and observer responses.” Definitely a less sexy headline than “Assault on Peppa Pig.”
The British and Canadian researchers behind the study were actually trying to understand how to use the power of children’s entertainment to help kids understand regular, everyday pain, and how to be empathetic.
You wouldn’t know that from The Sun or The Independent’s click-bait headline and lazily reported story, which isn’t just meant to garner ad revenue by deceiving viewers but also to gaslight parents and instill in them a growing sense of fear, as well as further undermine, confuse and conflate common language.
For example, making the terms ‘pain’ and ‘violence’ interchangeable, as both media outlets did in this case, is totally in line with the insidious woke culture that distorts language beyond recognition and brazenly and shamelessly declares that “silence is violence”.
Trust me when I tell you that silence is not violence. Violence is violence. Only someone who has never been punched in the face will tell you that silence and violence are the same thing.
This Peppa Pig story is just another obvious example of the media’s mischievous and malicious mendacity. One can go through the list of much more egregious media lies that had, or potentially could have, more catastrophic impact than just besmirching poor Peppa Pig.
For instance, the establishment media’s slavishly slanted coverage in the lead-up to the Iraq war, or the propaganda surrounding Syria’s supposed chemical weapons attacks, or the cavalcade of Cold War inspired disinformation regarding Russia…be it alleged interference in the 2016 election, or supposed hacking of power grids, or use of “microwave weapons”.
This manufactured Peppa Pig story is proof that the corporate media aren’t interested in uncovering facts, only in pandering for profit, and that their loyalty is always and every time to money, not to truth.
The bottom line is this: Peppa Pig is a safe and trustworthy show for kids to watch, but the establishment news outlets of both the left and right are not a safe or trustworthy product for adults to consume.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.