Nickelodeon's sexually ambiguous seafarer gets used and abused again to highlight a message
First it was the far right, which signaled out "Spongebob" for promoting a gay and global-warming agendas.
And Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics will also take aim at the 12-year-old Nickelodeon kids series, reporting a study that concludes the fast-pace show, and others like it, aren't good for children.
Using what it calls a "controlled experimental design," the AAP said its study found that preschool-aged children " were significantly impaired in executive function immediately after watching just nine minutes of a popular fast-paced television show relative to after watching educational television or drawing."
That show, of course, is "Spongebob Squarepants."
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According to an individual with knowledge of the AAP's press strategy, the organization's Monday announcement will be picked up by ABC, NBC and Associated Press.
Nickelodeon didn't have a comment on the matter, but did release this statement, questioning the sea-worthiness of the study: "Having 60 non-diverse kids, who are not part of the show's targeted demo, watch nine minutes of programming is questionable methodology and could not possibly provide the basis for any valid findings that parents could trust."
A key issue for Nickelodeon officials: "Spongebob" is targeted to kids 6-11, but the study focused on 4-year-olds.
An individual close to the network said the program's broad awareness among parents has been leveraged before to gain noteriety and spur funding.
In 2005, James Dobson, head of the Christian Right group Focus on the Family, said the cartoon's tolerance themes were really code for gay-agenda promotion.
And just last month, Fox News personalities Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson got on the series, as well as the U.S. Department of Education, for allegedly promoting global-warming science.
As for its study, officials for the American Academy of Pediatrics were unavailable for comment Sunday.
"People do studies all the time about the effects of media. This one will stress out parents unnecessarily," said an individual close to Nickelodeon.