'Child Advocates' or Liberal Activists?

April 25th, 2007 11:53 PM

Today a Harvard-based advocacy group, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC), launched a salvo against "Shrek the Third," the latest sequel in the animated Mike Myers franchise.

CCFC's beef: The title character is being enlisted by Uncle Sam to encourage kids to exercise, although Shrek has been used to hawk fast food to kids as well.

It's certainly of interest to parents and educators, I suppose, but CCFC is hardly the moderate "child advocacy group" that media outlets such as USA Today are blandly describing it to be.

As I wrote for the MRC's Business & Media Institute (BMI) last August, a review of CCFC's Web site makes clear the group's liberal, pro-regulation agenda (my emphasis in bold):

In a petition that CCFC urges Web site visitors to sign, [Harvard psychologist Susan] Linn’s group argues “that schools, communities, and nations, if they deem it necessary, have the right to restrict commercial access to children. Marketers do not have the right to exploit children for profit.”

Taken to its logical conclusion, that statement means that CCFC believes the government should be empowered to play censor to advertising on radio, TV, the Internet, billboards, newspapers, and anywhere else children might happen to see advertising.

And it’s not just commercials that destroy America’s youth. It’s the action-figures and other toys based off of cartoons and movies like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Spider-Man, Linn’s group insists.

“Toys based on media programs come with established characters and storylines, making it unlikely that children will use the toy to create their own world,” complained CCFC in a pamphlet entitled “The Commercialization of Toys and Play.”

BMI's Amy Menefee wrote about CCFC as recently as late March when the "CBS Evening News" picked up on one of the group's complaints.