Apr 20, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 30 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Less than two months ago, Google launched YouTube Kids, a new app for tablets and smartphones aimed at providing child-friendly video content. Unlike Netflix, the service is free. Since YouTube Kids is not an act of charity, however, it does have commercials. And this is apparently not just intolerable, but illegal.
So alleges a Federal Trade Commission complaint supported by the Center for Digital Democracy, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and other advocacy groups. YouTube Kids is “the most hyper-commercialized media environment for children I have ever seen,” Dale Kunkel, a professor of communications at the University of Arizona, told PCWorld. For those of us who grew up in earlier eras, the suggestion of YouTube Kids being the ne plus ultra of inappropriate commercial environs seems laughable. Indeed, ads featuring the cartoon exploits of the Hamm’s beer bear regularly punctuated afterschool Bugs Bunny viewings during The Scrapbook’s childhood.
The complaint also objects to YouTube’s use of branded content, saying many of the videos available are “little more than program-length commercials.” This isn’t so much an indictment as a description of children’s TV programming throughout history. Sesame Street licenses the likeness of its characters to air fresheners, for heaven’s sake.
Not that any reasonable counter-arguments will matter. All right-thinking people know that media and Internet companies are honor-bound to provide the exact intellectual property consumers want, royalty-free without advertisements.
Of course, there’s a bigger issue at stake than sticking it to evil corporations. The bigger problem isn’t so much that children see commercials as it is the time they spend staring at video screens, period. There is a raft of studies—not to mention good old common sense—confirming that excess screen-time contributes to terrible attention spans and otherwise impairs child development. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of parents who think of an iPad as a cross between a pacifier and a babysitter. If you’re willing to let your kids watch so much video entertainment that a few seconds of ads become a cumulative problem, whether or not Google is raising your children is the least of your worries.
6:15 PM, Jan 22, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
The green-lipstick wearing interviewer of President Barack Obama expressed her concern that the "po-po" (meaning: police officer) might shoot and kill her husband. The interviewer, GloZell Green, made the remarks to the president in an "interview" held today at the White House:
5:36 PM, Jan 22, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama sat down "interviews" with YouTube stars this afternoon. As one of the interviews ended, one of the stars, Hank Green, asked Obama for an autograph:
12:12 PM, Jan 15, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
After the State of the Union Address next week, President Obama will turn to YouTube personalities to answer questions.
Meet Jan Helfeld, Internet provocateur.1:05 PM, Mar 26, 2014 • By JIM SWIFT
Oxon Hill, Md.
Unlike the young conservatives milling around the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with cameras waiting for their favorite politician or pundit to turn the corner so they can get a “selfie,” Jan Helfeld is here with a camera for a different reason—a serious interview. Politicians and pundits are usually eager for free publicity, so Helfeld often scores big names, despite having no mainstream-media affiliation or even many Twitter followers. But many of them have found that sitting down for a conversation with him can come with costs.
"We ♥ Prophet Muhammad"3:46 PM, Sep 28, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Muslim Americans in Michigan, including a local newspaper editor, will be rallying Friday in Dearborn to protest the YouTube film, "Innocence of Muslims" and advocate for blasphemy laws. Here's an image of a poster advertising the rally:
1:34 PM, Aug 21, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Yesterday, when speaking with the White House press, President Obama was asked about the now infamous pro-Obama super PAC ad that links Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney with a female victim of cancer. Obama tried to play down the significance of the ad by saying "it ran once."
7:30 AM, Apr 7, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Do we still get a subsidy if we trade in our president instead? "Obama needled one questioner who asked about gas prices, now averaging close to $3.70 a gallon nationwide, and suggested that the gentleman consider getting rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle."
The use and abuse of words that pack a punch12:00 AM, Oct 13, 2010 • By BARTON SWAIM
Recently I watched a 10-minute YouTube video purporting to be the “100 Greatest Movie Insults.” It’s a pretty diverse collection, though as you’d expect it favors American films from the 1980s and later.
America Speaking Out.12:00 AM, Jun 3, 2010 • By GARY ANDRES
The day Abraham Lincoln delivered his electrifying speech at New York City’s Cooper Union in 1860, he sat for a now famous photograph by Mathew Brady. Lincoln’s stem-winding perorations that night won him high praise from political elites, but the picture – widely used and reproduced in the campaign that year -- contributed as much, or more, to his presidential victory.
Twitter feeds, YouTube footage show what really happened.10:55 AM, Jun 2, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN
Noah Shachtman has a rather dour take on the utility of Israel's new media engagements in the wake of the flotilla fiasco:
An interview with Dale Peterson, YouTube star.6:30 PM, May 18, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
In years like 2010, you get candidates like Dale Peterson. The 64-year-old retired businessman has never run for public office, but he's one of three GOP candidates in the June 1 primary for Alabama agriculture commissioner. His ad "We are Better Than That!" has gone viral, with more than 470,000 views on YouTube. Bloggers are calling it the best campaign commercial of the year (so far!). He's been on Glenn Beck's radio show.