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The NickTruth Network

The channel that tells kids what's really going on.
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The sweet-faced host of "Blue's Clues", Steve, left the program earlier this year, in a gentle series of episodes that explained the change.

Here's what kids were told:

Steve is leaving because he's going to go to college. His brother, Joe, is going to be taking care of Blue and friends from now on.

Here's what actually happened:

Steve did not go to college. In fact, he's still deciding what he wants to do in his post-rugby-shirt life. He did cut a CD with The Flaming Lips, but you can't buy it in stores yet. The new guy is not his brother, and his name isn't even Joe; it's Donovan.

What if there were a TV station that actually offered kids programming that told the truth? I don't mean every sordid detail, needlessly scary stuff, or the things they'll properly learn later (sex, the Holocaust, the fact that terrorists are still among us and planning their next strike). I'm talking about information that is relevant to them, but that they're never told, for whatever reason.

For example:
* You're Going to Need Those Later (hygiene and health program)
* The Hard Life of a Child Actor
* What's Really In It? (food program)
* McDonald's Is Bad, Bad, Bad
* Global Warming, Your Mommy's SUV, and You (environmental science program)
* What it Takes To Be A ___ (doctor, rock star, lion tamer at the circus)
* Meet the Fat Middle-Aged Guy Who Writes N'Sync's Songs

Don't know about you guys, but I'm still angry that it took me 20 years to find out what happened to the little girl on "Family Affair" ...

1percent, Jun 04 2002

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       How about "Biography for Kids" or some such thing? I don't think one needs to ruin the narrative of something as delightful as Blues Clues in order to tell the "real" story.   

       When I was a kid, I *knew* there wasn't really a 7-foot tall borderline-retarded canary living in an alley in New York City; but I still enjoyed watching Big Bird do his thing on Sesame Street. Just because at age four I couldn't articulate the idea of suspension of disbelief doesn't mean I couldn't do it.
MrWrong, Jun 04 2002
  

       I hope you're right, Rods ... but I'll believe it when I see they've scheduled the "This Is Your Brain on Ritalin" afterschool special.   

       Of course, the truly curious kid normally discovers the truth by herself. If, for example, her mom subscribes to People Magazine, she will probably come across the article that displays the revealing "before & after" photos of Steve. Inevitably, she will ask the next adult she sees (say, me) about it, and I will try to help her find out what's true.   

       Eventually, I'll have to look into that stricken little face and tell her a different story from the one she's been told -- even though her mom said it was true, and her teacher said it was true. This is why she looks stricken: because somehow Mommy was wrong, and Ms. Kim was wrong, or else they lied, which is worse; and either way it's awful, because she doesn't know, and she isn't right. It is very important for kindergarteners to know things, and to be right.   

       This is the kind of situation I'd like to avoid.   

       Just to be clear: I love fantasy. Really. What I don't like is any entity that proffers certain information as fact ("Part of a Healthy Breakfast!"), when it's clearly garbage, and the target audience is too young to know the difference. This is not fair. Several Western European countries recognize this, and have banned television advertising aimed at children.   

       Here in the US, everybody gets to be a consumer -- but only those of us who can read are allowed access to the truth.
1percent, Jun 04 2002
  
      
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