Media Ignores Fact 'Kid Pan Alley' Led by Leftist Activists, Democratic Donors

Conservative media outlets raised the alarm about a song praising the Occupy movement, called "Part of the 99," that was supposedly created by Albemarle County, Va. third graders and supervised by members of a group called Kid Pan Alley. The mainstream media, predictably, tried to sweep the controversy over the rug. But both conservative and mainstream outlets failed to report the fact that the several of the directors of Kid Pan Alley are avowed liberals, donating to Democratic politicians and embracing liberal causes.

As reported by Weasel Zippers, the Occupier-praising song was created under the auspices of Kid Pan Alley, a Charlottesville-based group which goes into schools and allows children to be songmakers. Kid Pan Alley boasts that it inspires "kids [to] use their imaginations - to be creators of their own music." The group has a wide reach: according to its website, the group has "written over 1,800 songs with over 30,000 children."

 

Kid Pan Alley Executive Director Pat Rogers declared that "Kid Pan Alley does not promote nor condone any personal or political agenda," even though the tagline on its logo says, "Inspiring kids to be creators, not consumers." Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the group shares the left's distaste for consumerism.

But the liberal leanings of some of the major players in Kid Pan Alley are clear. John McCutcheon, a Board President and member of the Board of Directors of Kid Pan Alley (whose children's albums were produced by Kid Pan Alley founder Paul Reisler), has turned his blog into a political, anti-Wall Street rant. His own songs consistently mock conservatives, such as George W. Bush (who he called "Part Yogi Berra, part Dan Quayle) and Pat Robertson (who has God accuse him of stealing money and call him a "total sham.")

Other leaders of Kid Pan Alley are not shy about expressing their politics. Ysaye Barnwell, a member of the Board of Directors at Kid Pan Alley, performed for the Occupy Movement. Terri Allard, Project Director of Kid Pan Alley, performed before anti-Bush activist Cindy Sheehan's speaking tour in 2006. Kid Pan Alley Project Director Paddy Dougherty gave $500 to the Democratic House candidate Tom Perriello, who touted his support for Obama's policies while other Democratic candidates tacked to the right during the Republican landslide of 2010.

Several famous artists who have contributed to Kid Pan Alley also are not shy in expressing their liberal leanings. Sissy Spacek has bashed Sarah Palin on her Facebook page. Raul Malo, endorsed Obama in the 2008 elections. Delbert McClinton, in a December 2011 interview, bashed George Bush and declared: "And I can't imagine, at this point in time, that anybody can really do much better than Obama has done. He came in and inherited a big ol' bag of s**t."

While a few Kid Pan Alley contributors, such as Kix Brooks and Amy Grant, have supported Republican candidates in the past, there haven't been any conservative-themed songs coming out of Kid Pan Alley.

Albemarle school officials defended the lyrics of "Part of the 99," with Albemarle County School Board member Steve Koleszar saying that "You underestimate what our kids can do." Koleszar ran as a Democratic delegate for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2005. He was also endorsed by the Albemarle County Democratic Party for the 2011 School Board elections. No word on what his reaction would be if Kid Pan Alley came up with a Tea Party song.

But Kid Pan Alley officials seemed to realize the content of the Occupy song was controversial. Kid Pan Alley executive director Pat Rogers told The Daily Progress "that the foundation will train its adult facilitators to steer students away from controversial content."

But this is not the first time Kid Pan Alley has produced songs trumpeting liberal themes. Big Government's Kyle Olson reported that Kid Pan Alley produced another song from "second graders" titled "Inauguration," about the inauguration of Barack Obama. Another song, featured on Kid Pan Alley's website, titled "What Michelle Obama Said to Me," extolled the virtues of the First Lady:

We can make things better
We can make things worse
We can be great role models
Or throw things in reverse
We can change the world
It's a big responsibility
That's what Michelle Obama said to me

I wrote her a letter one day
And asked her, "How can I help the world?"
I'm not in the news like you
There seems so little I can do
I may be too young to have a job right now
But give me one chance and I will show you how

We can make things better
We can make things worse
We can be great role models
Or throw things in reverse
We can change the world
It's a big responsibility
That's what Michelle Obama said to me

She called me on the telephone,
Said, "Hey, come and see me one day!"
So I went to the White House for tea
She said, You can be what you want to be.
A doctor, a lawyer, a college dean,
As long as you just follow your dream.

Liberalism seems to be a common theme in Kid Pan Alley's songs. One writer, in a piece otherwise praising the work of Kid Pan Alley, wrote: "The songs are most successful when the elements of the kids' collaboration are brought to the forefront. The only misfire for me is the song "Download it All for Free" which is perfectly listenable, but communicates a preachy adult message, warning kids that if they download songs without paying the artists the music will go away. It comes across as a sermon against technology and globalization that lacks an authentic kid angle."

Even assuming the school board's claim to be true that the children were the sole creators of the Occupy song's lyrics, would a song praising the Tea Party or extolling Rep. Eric Cantor been allowed, if the students had suggested it? Or would the songwriters have steered the children's creative abilities in another direction?