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September 06, 2005

Pentagon Targets 3-Year-Olds With Chuck E. Cheese Recruitment Spot

From Victoria Harper's "Babes in Warland" posted on TruthOut.org:

    The toddlers were at the pizza parlor to celebrate Kristina's 3rd birthday. A dozen youngsters jumped and clapped their hands as a giant rat, Chuck E. Cheese, came out to greet them. The Iraq War was far from my mind.

    If you have never been to Chuck E. Cheese, it is a mix of carnival and play park, with so-so pizza, lots of video games, coin operated kiddie rides, and arcade games like ski ball.

    When the birthday party settled into eating pizza and birthday cake... a series of large screen TVs came to life to show Chuck E. Cheese TV. The program was, at first, MTV-like. Performers in large animal garb sang and danced through an idyllic scene with herons and alligators. A man clad in a blazing yellow shirt and red vest skipped across the screen, singing and snapping his fingers to the lively music. The scene shifted to a person dressed in a dog costume fishing in the lake with 3- and 4-year-old children and then shifted again from pictures of the children to mothers holding small babies. Although it was disjointed and a bit crazed, it was what one might expect at Chuck E Cheese.

    Then my jaw dropped: the MTV segment shifted to a promotional piece compiled by the Department of Defense! The promo showed happy, smiling soldiers in Iraq handing out toys and candies to delighted children. This was followed by a series of scenes showing war planes, tanks and more happy soldiers. This production lasted for 5 minutes of the 15-minute CEC TV show. Throughout the segment, the large animated puppets' eyes shifted toward the TV as they nodded in approval and clapped. Then their eyes shifted back to the children, who were spellbound by the movie.

    Several telephone calls I made to Chuck E. Cheese headquarters were not answered. Finally reaching someone at the local outlet, one of over 500 company owned and operated locations, I learned that the CEC TV show was a regular part of the offerings at all CEC sites and that it was run a number of times during each day.

    I was stunned. Chuck E. Cheese, a place for 3-year-olds to have a birthday party, was playing promo films for military recruitment to the babies and their "youngish" parents! The problems with military recruiting in high school and middle school have been well documented, but now the Pentagon is targeting an even younger group!

Posted by MikeBurke on September 6, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

Holy crap!!!!

Posted by: Stefanie | Sep 6, 2005 8:53:18 AM

I very seriously doubt this is a recruting tool. The three year olds are too young to understand, and the impact of five minutes of propaganda isn't likely to influence the decisions made 15 years later. It's probabally a way for the owner of CEC to show support for the military, which is an excellent marketing tool in some cities. If nothing else, the film provides a good oppportunity for kids with military parents to see the good the military is doing. If nothing else, it provides an excellent platform for parents to share their views on the military with their children.

Posted by: Amanda | Sep 22, 2005 3:59:14 PM

You really need to get a life. I have seen the clip your talking about and nothing in that is even remotely about recruitment. The clip shows that Chuck E Cheese's supports the military. It says nothing about the war efforts, the Iraqi war, or any war in general. For once in America we get to see the good side of Americans and people like you come out and show the bad sid. SHAME ON YOU~!

Posted by: Nathan | Sep 23, 2005 12:37:23 PM

I am sorry to say that anyone who thinks it is appropriate to show little kids military support on their BIRTHDAY is a sick and twisted individual. What does a child's birthday party have to do with the military??? More and more parents are waking up to the brainwashing that the government uses, and if advertising did not work then corporations would not pay big money for it. Basically they are advertising positive military image to children, and yes most would find this demented.

Posted by: Karen | Sep 25, 2005 11:35:17 AM

You are demented Karen. It is people like you that confuse war with warrior. It is that twisted liberal thinking that the military has no place in the entire Nation's lives, it does.
Its disgraceful to watch anybody talk during the National Anthem, not remove their hats, or stand when the Flag passes. Its nauseating when supporting the military is so off-base for you.
Its infuriating to not teach our children to respect the Soldiers serving our great Nation, and honor them.
Why don't you complain that the corporate giants sell Che Guevara t-shirts? Hell, he's Communist. At least Chuck E. Cheese is supporting American troops, shame you can't.

Posted by: Against Karen | Sep 26, 2005 9:17:07 PM

I wouldn't worry too much about Chuck E. Cheese. If my five year old daughter, who loves CEC, ever expresses an opinion that the military is cool or looks like fun, I will simply tell her about how the grandfather that she never knew who served in Viet Nam, blew his brains out with a .45 on the 25th anniversary of the day he left for 'Nam.

Posted by: Jim | Oct 1, 2005 2:36:09 PM

I applaud Chuck E Cheese for showing any segment in their shows that don't involve all the negitive stuff they get everyday on TV! Showing Military people doing their jobs is no different then showing a Fireman or Policeman doing his or her job....would you of objected to that? Lets not forget it was during summer, when they were going through all the fun stuff of summer. Kids love the 4th of July, you can't tell me you don't know what that holiday means! I was very proud to sit there and watch the tribute to our heros. I'm sure their families appreciated it also.

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