During remarks today, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that U.S. President Donald Trump was unhappy with "cancel culture," citing a recent spate of cancellations that included Cops and Live PD, two reality shows that followed police around and filmed their interactions with the community. The reasoning behind the cancellation was, in essence, that the shows operated as free advertising for police departments who wanted to make all the suspects look guilty and make law enforcement seem sexy and exciting. In the case of Cops, the law enforcement agencies had control of the final cut of the episode, and Live PD was embroiled in a scandal that resulted from their destruction of evidence -- a video of a police killing someone while on duty -- that was then unavailable in court.
While those two series were cancelled -- Cops by the Paramount Network and Live PD by A&E. While Cops was decades old and generally on its last legs, Live PD was a ratings juggernaut, and A&E has taken a massive ratings hit as a result of the decision. But the Press Secretary added some items to the list that weren't actually true.
"We saw a few weeks ago that Paw Patrol, a cartoon show about cops was cancelled, the show Cops was cancelled, Live PD was cancelled, Lego halted sales of their Lego City Police Station. It's really unfortunate," McEnany said during a press briefing.
In fact, as we have previously reported, Lego did not halt sales of police-themed toys and sets. It paused the marketing campaign for them amid the Black Lives Matter protests, essentially because having a pop-up ad for a police car on a news story about George Floyd's killing would have seemed tone-deaf.
And, no, Paw Patrol -- the hugely successful kids' show that has spawned a traveling stage show and has a movie coming up in the near future -- has not been cancelled. It is also not a cartoon show "about cops," but rather a series about talking dogs, each of whom has a special set of skills, who operate as a kind of public safety commission for a small town. They do everything from cleaning up litter to helping judge chili competitions to fighting asteroid-powered super-robots.
The misconception that Paw Patrol is about police comes from jokes on Twitter that singled out Chase, the Paw Patrol pup who wears a police uniform and drives a truck with a siren on it, as "deserving" cancellation. Because of the use of "cancelled" as a slang term for something being dismissed and forgotten (usually for political reasons), one could argue that McEnany was confused, and that she did not mean to imply that Nickelodeon had actually cancelled (as in, ended) the series. But the context, where it was lumped with the two actually cancelled series and the Lego news which was widely misreported, is key there.
Of course, social media immediately lit up and Paw Patrol started trending. Here are some of the best reactions to the...uhh...news?
Paw Patrol is not canceled.— Nick Jr. (@nickjr) July 24, 2020
No need to worry. PAW Patrol is not canceled. 🐶— PAW Patrol (@pawpatrol) July 24, 2020
Except, you know, Paw Patrol definitely isn't canceled, and Cops ran for 5,000 years. Bad TV shows should get canceled. That's not cancel culture -- it's capitalism. https://t.co/b41cWo4UEU— MB Fawcett (@maxfawcett) July 24, 2020
"We saw a few weeks ago that PAW Patrol, a cartoon show about cops, was canceled." -- @PressSec
[Clears throat]: NO WORD IN THIS SENTENCE IS TRUE— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) July 24, 2020
PAW PATROL HAS NOT BEEN CANCELEDJuly 24, 2020
That stupid joke headline about canceling Paw Patrol (which was neither canceled nor even seriously criticized) making it all the way to the White House reinforces the importance of press being careful not to feed the propaganda machine.— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) July 24, 2020
The real issue
Paw Patrol is not a cartoon show about cops, it is a show about a dystopian hellscape where every one of a town's essential services have, for some reason, been turned over to a boy and his squad of semi-competent puppies who are surely not licensed to operate those vehicles. https://t.co/s0LZJ8losL— Lethality Jane (@LethalityJane) July 24, 2020
More focus on the Pandemic, less on Paw Patrol https://t.co/7IWq0m70Qd— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) July 24, 2020
paw patrol doesn't romanticize cops nearly as much as it romanticizes tolerating terrible mayors— Taffy Brodesser-Akner (@taffyakner) July 24, 2020
The only explanation.
Paw Patrol is Deep State.— dismantle the mpd (@anamariecox) July 24, 2020
A) PAW Patrol has NOT been canceled; in fact a movie is coming out next year;
B) PAW Patrol is not just about a police dog — there’s a firedog pilotdog etc;
C) we just hit more than 4 million COVID-19 infections and we’re about to hit 145,000 deaths https://t.co/wcGsWTOzIT— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 24, 2020
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