What could be worse than a cop in a kids’ show?

A friendly cop in a kids’ show, of course!

“From Paw Patrol to Peppa Pig, children’s shows want their audience to believe cops are friends,” Angelica Cabral writes for the far-left Mother Jones. She argues that the positive depiction of law enforcement in children’s media is conditioning youth to trust the police. And I would agree.

Growing up, my parents often took me to visit our local police station. They “conditioned” me to trust the police. We’d thank them for their service to the community and gift them a box of doughnuts. If ever we were in trouble, these were the men and women who would show up to help, no questions asked. It only made sense to express our appreciation.

To my parents, it made sense to teach their kids that the cops were heroes. They were the good guys. They were on our side.

In her anti-cop manifesto, Cabral points out that kids’ shows attempt to do this, too, but she takes great offense to it.

“There’s a party going on on Sesame Street,” she writes. “A diverse group of young children is dancing. One muppet is juggling bowling pins. Another announces that there is about to be some live music. Enter three police officers in uniform singing the lyrics, “If you find yourself out in the cold and you don’t have a hand to hold, well then you might be lost, it’s true. But don’t be scared, here’s what to do: Don’t you fret or fuss, look for one of us!”

“The scene, which aired in 1985, is a nice idea,” she continues, “but in reality, the relationship between kids and cops isn’t always so sweet.”

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She goes on to rail against media for peddling the so-called lies of “copaganda,” a term she uses seriously.

Paw Patrol, a kids’ show in which a cop dog “helps solve problems,” is, she claims, “such blatant copaganda, it’s almost laughable.” Additionally, she rebukes Peppa Pig for showing a kid cheer “Hooray! The Police!” upon seeing cops show up at school. The messaging, she argues, propagates “unrealistic” and “inaccurate views about police being universally helpful and consistently good figures.”

What the writer fails to explain in her lengthy exposé is what exactly she would like to see cops in these roles do instead. A kids’ show is not exactly the place for a complicated, nuanced conversation about prison reform or violence, after all. Most just show cops being friendly and helpful, which is what I witnessed firsthand as a kid.

There are bad cops out there just as there are bad doctors and school bus drivers and teachers. In children’s media, these men and women are routinely portrayed as “universally helpful and consistently good figures.” Paw Patrol rarely lectures kids on the dangers of medical malpractice. Peppa Pig does not live in fear of classroom abuse. Yet John Hopkins Medicine discovered that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (at least “250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error”), and other data suggests sexual abuse by teachers is on the rise.

Will the left take offense to TV’s quixotic doctor and educator storylines?

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Generally speaking, these men and women are here to serve us. They would be more than happy to serve our kids. If a child were in danger, calling the police would be encouraged, and it is reasonable (and in today’s world, admirable) to cultivate that idea in family entertainment.

This media meltdown over Sesame Street, Paw Patrol, and Peppa Pig shows just how sensitive the anti-police narrative is. Even though, as even President Joe Biden has admitted, “most cops are good, decent people” a cop dog who “helps solve problems” in a G-rated show for two-year-olds is enough to trigger the woke media.

“As I watch clips of Peppa Pig, whose Instagram has close to half a million followers, praise the police officers she meets, I wonder what effect it will have on the kids watching it now,” Angelica Cabral concludes. “How long will it take, if ever, for them to realize that they’re being fed a message that’s not entirely accurate?

Although Cabral wants to crack down on the “cops are friends” trope, I would suggest the exact opposite is in order. Especially in this day and age, kids need to see the heroism in law enforcement.

And I, for one, applaud Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig for doing just that.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.

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