Are Huckabee's Educational Cartoons About 9/11 Exploitive?

It’s hard to believe this year marks the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. As most Americans reflect on how quickly the years have passed and recall exactly where they were when they heard the news of terrorists attacking U.S. soil, one person is seemingly exploiting the anniversary in a new educational cartoon aimed to teach kids about ‘history.’

Former presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee’s latest action warrants some skepticism. Huckabee produced an animated video titled ‘9/11 & The War on Terror.’ The cartoon is part of the TimeCycle Academy series centered on a group of friends traveling through time learning about history. The two minute preview shows a plane crashing into the World Trade Center with a little girl asking, “Who would do something like this?” Then ends with former president George W. Bush announcing that America will be heard after the video shows a photo of Osama bin Laden with a deceased sign stamped on his face.

Critics are claiming Huckabee is exploiting the tragic events of 9/11 with his cartoon adaptation for children. From the preview video, the exploitation criticism appears to be true and the video in poor taste.

Apparently this isn’t the first historical cartoon created by Huckabee, according to the New York Daily News. The ‘9/11 & The War on Terror’ video is just the latest installment to the Learn Our History website Huckabee co-founded. The site includes a series of animated videos – there’s also ‘The Reagan Revolution’ and ‘Origins of World War II.’ The website states that these videos are intended to alleviate the “blame America first attitude” and try a different approach to boring history lessons.

Huckabee claims the video is teaching students in an exciting way. In an interview with the 700 Club, Huckabee said, "They're very watchable for kids, it's designed for kids. I think adults could learn something from them, but we make it very clear it's for 7-year-olds."

And, it’s very clear why the animated attacks are causing such controversy. While some critics believe Huckabee is cashing in, it’s more along the lines of attempting to brainwash the youth of America with his version of what happened, while promoting a political agenda to youngsters. Yes, 9/11 should be taught in the classroom because it is a part of American history, but by educators not on Huckabee’s payroll. Huckabee’s website states that the videos were created and evaluated by certified educational professionals. I find it hard to believe that he didn’t have a hand in selecting teachers that shared his political viewpoints to create these cartoon snippets of history.  

An ad for the DVD on the website reads:

"Parents, your kids need to see the Learn our History DVD, 9/11 and the War on Terror," the ad reads. "They'll join the TimeCycle Academy as they go back in time to explore the tragic events of 9/11, and how Americans came together like never before as we prepared to fight the War on Terror. This special introductory episode teaches your kid valuable concepts including helping others, being heroic, protecting Americans, and standing up to evil!!

Families of the deceased have spoken out against the video. Jim Riches, a retired FDNY fire chief, lost his firefighter son on 9/11. He spoke to MSNBC about his disgust for the video and Huckabee. "I think he has no shame at it. It's like blood money," he said.

All the negative response to the ‘9/11 & The War on Terror’ video sparked Learn Our History CEO Bradley Saft to address some of the negative press on the company website and specifically MSNBC. I find it dishonest and unfair that MSNBC and Mr. Bashir deliberately misinformed and took advantage of Jim Riches' grief over his fallen son, a firefighter, to sensationalize this story.  He also left out the fact that part of the proceeds from video sales are being donated to select charities serving 9/11 victims and their families.

Now, Mr. Saft, when you say part of the proceeds, that can mean anything – five percent, 10 percent – I’m sure people want to know that if you are genuinely creating this for children, then give all proceeds to children charities and victim families. It may not be the best business tactic, but it’s the right thing to do.

The cartoon makes the events appear cute, comparable to an everyday cartoon adventure TV series, which is what the goal was apparently. The terrorist attacks were real. Families lost loved ones on that day in history and to create an animated video that promotes a political agenda, while exploiting the thousands of American lives lost is unacceptable.

Despite the fact that 10 years have passed since 9/11, what happened that day rests vividly in the minds of everyone who remembers where they were when terrorists attacked America and watching it in a cartoon is just disturbing.

Do you think Huckabee’s real goal is just to educate children about the terrorist attacks on 9/11? Or, as critics suggest, is he trying to profit from America’s tragedy?

Click on the preview and determine for yourself.

Posted by Christina Miralla on Aug 05, 2011


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