Mister Rogers Is "Evil" and Screws Up Kids

Suzanne Murray

I grew up on Mister Rogers. I loved the guy and his show, and especially the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

I had no idea he was "evil."

That's right. Evil.

According to a Louisiana State University finance professor -- and some commentators in this YouTube video of news programs -- Fred Rogers ruined a generation of kids, turning them into self-absorbed underachievers with a sense of entitlement (and no work ethic).

How did he do this?

Mister Rogers told kids they were special just for being who they were.

That. Is. So. Twisted.

I mean, c'mon, toddlers should have to earn the right to be told they're wonderful, right?

A suggestion from one of the anti-Rogers brigade: "He should have done us all a favor and said something like, 'Look kid, you've got a lot of room for improvement.'"

Like that kid wouldn't end up on a therapist's couch.

Give me a break.

On the one hand we have Don Chance, a finance professor, who, irked with his college students' attitudes, went public with his ah-ha moment in which "it just hit him" that he could blame it all on Mr. Rogers. Then we have some morning news show hosts who took it a step further.

On the other, we have Fred Rogers: He had a degree in music composition, he was an ordained Presbyterian minister, and he received more than 40 honorary degrees from colleges and universities. In 1968, he was appointed Chairman of the Forum on Mass Media and Child Development of the White House Conference on Youth. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in recognition of his contribution to the well-being of children and a career in public television that demonstrates the importance of kindness, compassion, and learning. Rogers earned all kinds of accolades in between.

It's kind of a no-brainer, wouldn't you say?

I wonder what all the haters think of PBS bringing Mister Rogers back (it's started streaming old episodes on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood's specific site and its PBSKids site).

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on them. After all, it sounds like Professor Chance and those TV show hosts have been doing a lot of "make believing" themselves. Oh well, I guess they'll just blame it all on Mister Rogers.

Do you think Mister Rogers was "evil"? Will you let your kids watch the show online? Do you make your toddler feel that she's special or are you sure to tell her she's got "room for improvement"?

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