Disney Channel is giving conservative parents one more reason to change the dial.
The network will debut a new cartoon bloc Monday which marks a major departure from its current brand. Playhouse Disney has long been a place for pre-schoolers to learn their ABCs and other simple education. The new format, Disney Junior, will instead emphasize “social ethics” through creative storytelling.
What sort of ethics will be preached? No one is entirely sure, not even Disney executives. The LA Times provides the not-so-helpful answer: “the goal of the show is not to moralize, but to prompt discussion between children and caretakers.”
Isn’t this great? Kids will be given moral lessons that don’t actually teach anything, and parents – er, caretakers – can look forward to discussions about what the heck “social ethics” is supposed to mean anyway.
While the network strives to keep the message as vague as possible, those familiar with Disney “ethics” know exactly where this train is headed.
For a taste of what parents should anticipate, look no further than the values already being pushed on Disney’s more prominent shows. Observe this gem from a 2010 episode in which a 15-year old endorses Keynesian economics to win a beauty pageant (relevant portion begins at 3:45):
Among other things, that show “prompts discussion” by portraying global warming fear mongers who routinely break the rules if that’s what it takes to save the planet – and no one is around to “discuss” the possibility that global warming might be a myth.
Disney’s teen-oriented programming has a long history of portraying liberal characters, from the paranormal detectives in So Weird to the witchcraft-wielding spoiled brats in Wizards of Waverly Place. A live action show which debuted last November includes a character whom everyone over the age of 12 can figure out is gay.
Looking for a conservative child who reads the Bible and attends Tea parties on weekends? Disney has, for some mysterious reason, never found a place for a character like that.
For years, parents had consoled themselves in the knowledge that at least the cartoons were free from “socially ethical” characters. Monday marks the end of that.