Shire Network News #90 has been released. The feature interview this week is with filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney, whose documentary, “Indoctrinate U”, examines the extent of political bias in American higher education. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary segment, complete with links.


Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to Consider This:

Paul Harvey has a phrase he uses to introduce some of his news stories. “Self-government without self-control is self-defeating.” I think that phrase fits quite well with this story.

Earlier this month, the German magazine “Der Spiegel” reported that the Hamas-backed al-Aqsa TV station was broadcasting a new children’s show into the Palestinian territories. It involved an obvious copy of Mickey Mouse, named “Farfur” which means “butterfly”, and a little girl named Saraa, and is called “Tomorrow’s Pioneers”. What brought this innocent-sounding show to the attention of the world was that its two loveable characters were engaged in cutesy things like showing how to hold an AK-47 and inciting violence against Israel and America. How positively charming!

Later on, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the program had been yanked and was “under review”. He complained that “some American television stations” were still covering the story after it was supposedly resolved. The mouse, named “Butterfly”, was no longer on the air.

Except that wasn’t the case. Hamas announced that it would defy Barghouti’s request and show the mouse, named “Butterfly”, according to schedule. Barghouti then decided that this “review” would take place on the air, while he watched the show. Recently, Fathi Hammad, Chairman of the television station defended the program saying it didn’t violate any moral or professional standard, and that it would not be withdrawn, nor would its content be modified.

So to recap: Saraa and her friend Farfur the Mouse, or Butterfly, tell kids how Islam will militarily conquer the world, on a TV station owned by Hamas. Israel reacts. The Palestinian government, who’s senior partner is Hamas, says that they’ll take it off the air and review it, while complaining that this is a non-story. Hamas defies its own government and continues to run the show, thus making this non-story a story. The Palestinian government, trying not to look irrelevant, says, “Well, OK, but it’s still under review”, but the TV station continues to demonstrate that the government is, in fact, irrelevant.

Self-government without self-control is self-defeating. And sometimes becomes self-parody.

This isn’t an isolated incident. “The Children’s Club” was another program in this vein, that mimicked “Sesame Street” but included kids shouting for jihad against Israel and one little girl singing, “”When I wander into Jerusalem, I will become a suicide bomber.”

“Hey kids, today we’re going over to the trash can of Schlomoe the Grouch and teach him a lesson. After that, we’ll find our 72 vir…er…playmates.”

And there have been others. If Israel were doing this, there’d be a UN resolution. In the meantime, the mouse called “Butterfly” merrily continues to influence the next generation of jihadis.

I’d have more to say, but I’m currently reading “The Protocols of the Muppets of Zion”, and I’m just getting to the chapter on Miss Piggy. Should be interesting.

Doug Payton blogs at Considerettes.

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