Media Blog

Time for ‘Muppet Diplomacy’?

Now that the dreaded era of “cowboy diplomacy” has ended, the world is ready for a new, more sensitive kind of foreign policy: muppet diplomacy. Agence France-Presse reports:

JERUSALEM — Big Bird and his pals are trying hard to get access to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip to talk about peaceful conflict resolution and carry out some Muppet Diplomacy, Sesame Street announced on Wednesday.

“We know that it’s an extremely volatile area, but we also feel that it’s really important that we take these step forward to promote self esteem for Palestinians,” said Gary Knell, president of the Sesame Workshop, the educational organisation behind the popular children’s series.

A Palestinian version of the series — Sharaa Simsim — is already shown in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but the signal does not reach Gaza, an impoverished and overcrowded territory struggling to recover from Israel’s devastating military offensive at the turn of the year…

Sesame Street marks its 40th anniversary this year and is seen in more than 140 countries. That “has pretty much made it the longest street in the world,” said Knell, who was rudely interrupted by grumps and groans from Moishe Oofnik, the Israeli cousin of Oscar the Grouch.

It was only after a firm but polite intervention by Sivan, a disabled Muppet in a wheelchair who will debut in Israel in December, that Knell was able to resume speaking.

This sentence from AFP is a classic example of diluting the obvious:

He said he is particularly keen to send the famous Muppets to Gaza, where the station run by the Islamist Hamas has stirred international outrage with its cartoon characters seen as glorifying violence against Israel.

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...

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