You’ve probably seen the AT&T ads that show a corporate tool in a gray suit seated in a too-small chair in an elementary school library, palavering with children. Each 30-second spot addresses a different topic — one is on “saving money,” another on “having more” — but all inexorably arrive at the catchphrase “It’s not complicated.”
If you find those commercials insufferably cute, you’ll probably adore MSNBC’s ‘Political Playground,’ in which host Krystal Ball interviews her 5-year-old daughter, Ella, on hot button issues of the day.
Interview is perhaps the wrong word, since it implies spontaneity, and one gets the distinct sense that these conversations — if not out-and-out rehearsed — have occurred before. If she wanted, Ball could achieve genuine objectivity and candor by interviewing someone else’s child, but wishing that on a stranger might be cruel.
To understand why, take Friday’s episode, which focused on same-sex marriage. In the video, which appears below, Ball carefully steers the conversation first to a consideration of whom (or what) you can’t marry (a tree, for example) and ultimately the conclusion that marriage is between two people in love. Why the institution is limited to two people Ball never clarifies (and apparently never inculcated into the child).
Here is the dialog beginning at the 1:34 mark. Ball has just established that Ella “loves” a little boy named Eli, whom she is not sure she wants to marry.
KRYSTAL BALL: Can you marry any person? Any person that you fall in love with?
ELLA: Like I might be interested in [inaudible]
BALL: What if you were in love with a girl? Could you marry a girl?
ELLA: Um, only here I can marry a girl.
BALL: Here in New York you can marry a girl?
ELLA: [Animated, clapping rhythmically]: Um-hm. ‘Cause girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys in New York, and girl can marry a boy in New York, too.
BALL: That’s a nice thing, because you want people to be able to marry who they’re in love with, right?
Hot Air’s Allahpundit writes of the segment:
The idea here, I take it, was to show that supporting gay marriage is so obvious that even a five-year-old can arrive at the right conclusion if left to reason her way through it. That’s not how it comes off; you get the sense that this segment would have run for 20 minutes, with Krystal Ball nudging all the way, if that’s how long it would have taken to arrive at the favored result.
That’s assuming of course that the segment did lead to the favored result. The deck is stacked in this case by Ball interviewing her own child. But even if the outcome weren’t the desired one, MSNBC could always pull the segment.
Exploiting children to score political points is nothing new for liberals. One of the most disgraceful examples of using children as propagandistic pawns came in January of this year, when a video of children reading aloud anti-gun letters they had written was released. The source of the video? The White House.
Howard Portnoy has written for HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, and The George Espenlaub Show.
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