Well, it looks like the media couldn’t resist the temptation to provide the American public with outrage porn, even on Thanksgiving. However, in this case, it was conservatives who were the mark. The Hill recently reported on a story that represents every conservative outrage addict’s dream: Phony accusations of racism against Peanuts’ Charlie Brown.
As you might already know, the left has attacked Peanuts before due to the Christian overtones found in their televised after-school specials. This particular story seems to have all the makings required to craft a story designed to enrage conservatives. However, leaping to the conclusion that there is some vast progressive movement to label the cartoon as racist might be a bit premature.
Is Charlie Brown A White Supremacist?
The Hill — and several other publications — reported that “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” was being criticized on social media because of a supposedly racist scene that was included in the program. The scene depicted a Thanksgiving dinner attended by some of the more well-known Peanuts characters. The scene also included Franklin, the only black Peanuts character.
So what was the issue? Apparently, the seating arrangement was the source of contention. On one side of the table sat Charlie Brown, Sally, Peppermint Patty, and everyone’s favorite beagle, Snoopy. On the other side, poor Franklin is sitting by himself in a lawn chair. Naturally, the individuals posting on social media saw this as obvious racism because of course they did.
Here are some of the tweets whining about Franklin’s oppression at the hands of the white supremacist Peanuts characters:
Watching Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving is hard knowing they put my nigga Franklin at the end of the table by himself 😩
— ariel (@Sincerely_AJP) November 22, 2018
Let’s talk about Franklin. Dude gets invited to Charlie Brown’s by Peppermint Patty. Then he finds out that it wasn’t a real invite, a dog is cooking the food and he’s gotta sit by himself at dinner. That’s Get Out. #CharlieBrownThanksgiving
— Terry Big Blue Brown™️ (@TBrown_80) November 22, 2018
Not watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving anymore, until they sit some people on the same side of the table as Franklin ✊🏾✊🏾
— Vic Damone Jr (@Asharp52) November 22, 2018
Like many on the left, these individuals decided to conclude that this scene is indicative of racism without bothering to look into the issue first. If they had done a bit of research, they would have known that Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, created Franklin after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A retired schoolteacher reached out to Schulz and urged him to include a black character in the comic strip.
Initially, Schulz was hesitant because he wasn’t sure he could pull it off as a white cartoonist and he did not want to come off as patronizing. In an interview with NBC, he said:
“I don’t know what it’s like to grow up as a black kid. I only know what it’s like to grow up as a barber’s son in Saint Paul. I have my own experiences but I got two letters from fathers who said, we understand your problem, but try it anyway. Just go ahead and try it.”
Schulz decision was met with some opposition. An editor in the south wanted him to scrap the character, and his publisher believed that continuing to include Franklin would cause too much controversy. Schulz’s response was simple: “Either you print it just the way I draw it, or I quit. How’s that?”
Do We Really Need To Care About This?
In looking at this story — and many others — the most important question that nobody is asking is: “Who cares?”
Apparently, many on the right care. Several conservative publications published stories blasting the individuals claiming that Peanuts is racist. By looking at the headlines, you might have thought there were hundreds or even thousands of unhinged leftists on Twitter going crazy over a scene in a cartoon.
Well, I checked, and it was only a few individuals who were guilty of race-baiting. Even more, the person who referred to the movie “Get Out” later admitted that his tweet was a joke.
There was no mass hysteria over Peanuts. Nobody attempted to launch a boycott. Not even the Southern Poverty Law Center bothered to chime in. It was just a few misguided souls looking for a bit of racism so they could virtue signal for their Twitter followers. All in all this whole story amounts to a nothing patty on a sesame seed bun.
Some News Stories Aren’t Worth The Outrage
So why am I even bothering to write about this? Because this story is indicative of an ugly reality in American society. We have seen this type of situation happen over and over again. American media — both conservative and progressive — have adopted a penchant for publishing stories that have one objective: To make their readers angry.
Let’s face it. Americans are addicted to outrage. We are constantly seeking out new and creative ways to become offended and angry. Yes, this social phenomenon seems to exist more on the left, but conservatives are not innocent either. Then, we also have our media pusher men slinging rage online, ensuring that we have a steady supply of outrage porn to feed our habit.
Because outrage sells. It gets clicks. People share stories that make them angry. Given this reality, it is unlikely that the media will slow down in their ragemongering. They managed to get the American public hooked on outrage, and now they are helping us maintain our high.
Fortunately, an addiction to outrage isn’t hard to break. It simply requires diligence and a little bit of critical thinking. When you see a story that is clearly designed to tick you off, take a step back, dig a little deeper into the details, then decide if outrage is warranted.
There are numerous examples of reports that are worthy of our anger, but in many cases, the media is simply trying to get clicks and shares. If we learn how to discern the real stories from the outrage porn, people on the left and the right can focus on the important issues, instead of just shouting at each other on Twitter.