NY Times Sparks Outrage Against Protests with False Suggestion That Black Lives Matter Has ‘Come for Paw Patrol’

 

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A New York Times article has prominent figures from Megyn Kelly to Eric Trump expressing outrage that the children’s show Paw Patrol has become a target of the protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. It hasn’t.

President Donald Trump’s son was among the outraged throng of people who saw a New York Times headline that read “The Protests Come for ‘Paw Patrol’,” and raced to Twitter to denounce the “movement.”

“Now the left wants to cancel “Paw Patrol.” These people are truly insane…” he wrote.

Alas, he was not alone. Megyn Kelly — exiled from NBC over comments about blackface — applied her energy to Paw Patrol by writing “This is beyond parody.”

Many more prominent voices — including multiple Trump campaign officials — were similarly outraged, along similar lines.

It goes on and on like that.

As it turns out, though, the outrage is based on an attempt at cleverness by Times critic Amanda Hess, who used the absurd headline as an attention-getting peg for an in-depth look at the portrayals of police on television.

She began with a description of the show, then noted a tweet in which the show’s producers announced that “we will be muting our content until June 7th to give access for Black voices to be heard so we can continue to listen and further our learning.”

Anyone who read the actual article would have seen that Hess was referring to reactions to that tweet that she explicitly identified as jokes.

But last week, when the show’s official Twitter account put out a bland call for “Black voices to be heard,” commenters came after Chase. “Euthanize the police dog,” they said. “Defund the paw patrol.” “All dogs go to heaven, except the class traitors in the Paw Patrol.”

It’s a joke, but it’s also not. As the protests against racist police violence enter their third week, the charges are mounting against fictional cops, too. Even big-hearted cartoon police dogs — or maybe especially big-hearted cartoon police dogs — are on notice.

There were also plenty of users who got the joke, but the reach of the outraged is a cautionary tale for people who only read headlines — or only repeat the parts of things that confirm their own hostilities.

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