'Kid Nation' Contestants Rip Into President Bush

You know things are going bad for the president when he can't escape his problems on reality TV. The CBS series Kid Nation gave each of its 40 contestants, children aged 8 to 14, a chance to answer the question "Who are some of the worst presidents and why?"

Here's the response that Sophia, a 14-year-old Florida teen, posted on the CBS web site:

I think George W. Bush takes the cake. The planet is disintegrating, we’re fighting an unnecessary war, millions are without health care, the school system has gone down the toilet, the country is billions of dollars in debt, the world seems to be headed on a path towards destruction, and America’s hypocrisy is mocked by many nations. I think that merits recognition.

Several of the other kids also ripped into Bush, including one nine-year-old who said he's read Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

Via Rafe Colburn


It is shows like this that make we want to stop watching television in general.

You have to love how they control the discussion to target their bias/agenda by the way they frame the questions.

Instead of "What qualities do you think are important in a leader?" you get a question that implicitly defines the conversation in terms of negativity. And lets not get started on how these kids for the most part are mouth-pieces for their parents...

"We cannot always build the future for our children, but we can build our children for the future." If these kids are representative of our future, it is a dim future indeed.

The "worst president" question was preceded by several positive questions:

1. How would you change the world?
2. What have you learned about power?
3. Is power a good thing?
4. What makes a good leader?
5. Who have been some of the best U.S. presidents, and why?

If these questions really were answered by the kids (reality TV isn't exactly Edward R. Murrow in the truth department), they're actively engaged in U.S. politics. How is that a bad sign for the future?

Did any of them have a different answer? I imagine most of them are regurgitating rather than making thoughtful responses at those ages, but I guess that particular kid gets credit for not calling Bush a retard.

What else can they say, really? It must be intellectually stifling to have Al Gore's fantasies shoved down your throat in every class period during a school year and then again the next year, and the next year, and the next ...


I agree with you that if the kids are becoming actively engaged in political discourse, this is a good sign and something to be encouraged. However, I question whether they are truly applying critical thinking to a topic or just repeating what they have been told by parents, teachers, etc.

I do not usually voice my political/social views, but lately I have grown tired of what in my opinion is mostly rhetoric. So lets examine some of Sophia's comments.

"The planet is disintegrating":
There is actually a lot of debate in the scientific community concerning the theory of global warming (which I think is what she is referencing). While it is natural for people to believe that we must be the only reason behind changes in climate, I have still not seen those who subscribe to the global warming theory provide an explanation for the rapid climate shifts that occurred prior to human industrialization. How much of a factor does non-human influences (e.g. solar activity) have on the data? There is still too many unanswered questions to make a blanket statement, but I think more research is definitely merited.

"We're fighting an unnecessary war":
I respect everyone's opinion when it comes to our current fight against global terrorism. I would like to hear what Sophia would do when someone decides they want to kill her. When did defending yourself and taking the fight to the enemy become unnecessary? I am open to ideas on how to best fight global terrorism but phrases like 'an unnecessary war' seem to imply to me that we should disregard that we were attacked and that the leaders of major terrorist organizations are calling for more attacks against us. We are not the bad guys in this scenario, and no one should be surprised that when we are attacked by terrorists that a violent response is the result. As Caligula favored, Oderint Dum Metuant: "Let them hate so long as they fear". I guess I am just hard-core when it comes to standing up to people who are out to kill me. It would be great if all the terrorists would fight a traditional war (wear uniforms, do not attack non-combatants, etc.), but they have found they all end up dead that way.

"Millions are without health care":
As far as I can tell, socialized health care as it has been implemented in other countries has been for the most part a failure. Everyone may have universal health care, but the quality and timely access to that care suffers. I trust in a free-market system when it comes to health care, and believe it is one of the reasons the U.S. health care system is where many people come to receive care they could not otherwise find elsewhere. Lets think in terms of quality and not just quantity.

"America's hypocrisy is mocked by many nations":
Doing the right thing is not always what happens to be popular. I would rather deal with a nation/person that has a set of principals that they can be expected to follow instead of a nation/person who changes their position based on other's opinions. Historically, war time nations and presidents have had very low popularity. When it comes to global issues we should always try to engage the rest of the global community and find non-violent solutions via sanctions or other diplomatic means; but must be willing to do what is best for our national interests regardless of what other nations may think of us. That is the what makes us a sovereign nation.

In the end it would have been nice to hear well-reasoned answers to the questions that considered both sides of an issue, but I am unsure if whether these particular kids were unable to do so or if the television show started out with an agenda and picked participants accordingly.

Settle down Brian. The thread you were replying to was supposed to be about children and their answers to a political question not a soapbox for you to espouse your ill-informed fox-parroted delusions.

FYI and so you don't feel lonely in your ranting.

The planet disintegrating is more likely to refer a combination of things... Possibly including; pollution, deforestation, overfishing, desertification and yes global warming. Don't you think?

Oohhh... Did somebody threaten your life or did Georgie junior tell you a scary bedtime story? GWoT, don't make me laugh. Anyone with half a brain knows what the US are up to. It about the oil!

US healthcare? If I wanted competent healthcare the US is absolutely the last place I would go. Europe, Australasia, Asia... Places where the doctors actually learn their trade aren't reliant on expensive tech to do their job and paid off by big pharma.

Mock the US? As somebody who is not an american I can confirm, yes, the rest of us mock you at every opportunity. Half of you for being pathetic blundering thugs and the other half for not having the courage to depose your corrupt unelected dictatorship.


Thanks for the rational and dispassionate response, it is nice when people can engage in a conversation without needing to result to name-calling. :-)

It would appear you and I do not share the same ideas when it comes to many of the current world issues, but I still respect and am willing to listen to a variety of views, including yours. Since you hardly know me, applying labels like 'ill-informed fox-parroted delusions' to me seems unmerited and hasty. You might be correct, but perhaps you could be more open to opinions counter to your own in the future? At the very least I would hope you will try to be more courteous, as I have found people are more willing to listen.

I don't want to make the Workbench a political soapbox, so let me make my last dig and you can proceed to tear my opinions apart at your leisure. As the saying goes "You can't carve rotten wood."

1. I whole-heartedly agree there are many issues we face in regards to pollution, overpopulation, deforestation, etc. I was only questioning how much real scientific data backs up global warming, and was trying to point out that many people with a strong background in studying the climate disagree with the theory that is global warming. More science/study is needed before we can make an informed decision.

2. I would love for use to remove the U.S. dependency on foreign oil, but as petroleum affects our national interests and is a strategic reserve we would be foolish to not ensure we have access to it. But that is a side-issue. Terrorists plowing planes into our buildings and the heads of terrorist organizations calling for our destruction is equivalent to a 'scary bedtime story' to you? In my opinion it was an act of war, and unfortunately there are nations in the world (e.g. Iraq under Saddam) that passively and actively support these terrorist groups. I guess you have to be on the receiving end of such threats to take them seriously. Let us know how you feel after people you know are killed by terrorists.

3. Feel free to go wherever you want to receive health-care, I was only voicing the opinion that socialized medicine has not proven a successful model based on what I have seen. There may be a better system that provides coverage to more people, and hopefully we will work to implement such a system without sacrificing the quality of the service provided or unduly taxing citizens.

4. Ethnocentrism and nationalism naturally lead to each nation 'mocking' the other, it usually means you are proud of the nation you belong to. None of us should take ourselves too seriously. The point I was trying to make was that I think it is more important to act in a consistent, principled manner instead of trying to win some sort of global popularity contest.

Rogers, I apologize if I have lead your blog post into a less than cordial environment.


Brian, I wouldn't get terribly worked up about whether or not a Kos-parrotting ninny like Barry feels like you're not being cordial. Anyone whose worldview matches a brainwashed 14-year-old's so perfectly isn't worth worrying about.

There, now by comparison you're Miss Manners.

It would be interesting to edit all the video CBS has on these political interrogations in a seperate-reality show about the politics of a 'kid's' nation.

I would be asking CBS to provide some of the interviews which are contradictory to the impression they try to impart with this one. And, be surprised if the 'agreement' with what they proselyte as some putative consensus at kiddy-camp isn't a bit more 50-50 ... !

Of course, a site like yours is, Rogers, is not so hypocritical as is CBS. We know you have no such desire to anything approaching bipartisanship in politics, or of being shamed by any bias in this form of journalism ... and rightly so!

It is all your effort and heartbreak ... your choice in a free country dedicated to capitalism and which encourages entrepreneurial courage. Pure editorialism and no need to fill out any busy-work and which supposedly 'balances' your site, journalistically.

CBS is manditorially confined to a balanced, unbiased view of the news; even editorially, and unlike other media such as newspapers. Yet, here they are producing political propaganda and using underage children as dupes for their bias!

Faking documents in cahoots with their directors, producers, world famous talking heads, wasn't enough for them in breaking federal communications laws to the Nth degree ...

... now the radicals are abusing children in their rabid attempts to attack this commander in chief during a time of war ...

What 'profit' do these felonies against the laws and rules regulating television earn them? Pandering to radical, politically motivated and goosestepping consensus for *ratings*???

We know you have no such desire to anything approaching bipartisanship in politics, or of being shamed by any bias in this form of journalism ... and rightly so!

Nope. Even if I was tempted to run the Retort as a middle-of-the-road news site, I don't know that such a beast would find an audience.

Rogers notices, "Nope. Even if I was tempted to run the Retort as a middle-of-the-road news site, I don't know that such a beast would find an audience."

Right, and since that would be nothing more than a copy of the site you mock, partisanly. The Drudge Report does try to balance the news, and presents stories which appear to embarrass this administration, and doesn't just focus on Democratics. So, copying that style in attempting to mock the strawman, rightwing icon you've erected to vilify would be the work of a fool.

Indeed, your own personal fairness in allowing some threads with news embarrassing to the Leftwing there on an unashamedly partisan site is nonpareil in comparison to Kos, et al.

That urge to fairness is why I marvel at threads like this one, and which is so supportive of this *corporation's* efforts to defy US law and federal regulations, while abusing children and using them as dupes to attack, demean and otherwise abuse for partisan political purposes? Would you appreciate your children being used in that manner for rightwing attacks to demean and abuse their 'enemy'?

How about if they pandered to brainwashed, public sentiment to profit monetarily, as well as seemingly gaining political advantage opposing your own? Would you enjoy the position that placed you for originally allowing one of your children to go to this 'summer camp'?

Wouldn't you think that the rightwing, machiavellian plotters had stolen your vote and literally established a political re-education camp for children ... in this day-and-age?

I think the term 'yellow-dog' is going to take on a connotation very much different than it means now - some hidebound jerk in a voting booth ...

kinda sad that some of these kids are smarter than many of you, apparently...

Izz accuses, "kinda sad that some of these kids are smarter than many of you, apparently..."

But, not smarter than you, apparently, right Izz?

Both you and they know that Bush is far worse than the supposed terrorists we are fighting. This war was illegal and ending genocide was not a valid reason for entering a civil war, of a country that did not attack us; even though it was okay in Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti and two airwars against Iraq performed at the direction of a Democratic commander in chief.

You and these kids are the real patriots for wanting to retreat and allow a victory to those who practice human sacrifice to rule and terrorize their populations ....

Yeah, we are much safer with these kids in control, and having their strings pulled by a television corporations and learning the Leftist/Democratic way of lies from the real experts ... (God forbear allowing these corporations to fall into the hands of Republicans and brainwash Leftist/Democratic children in that evil, fascist, nazi, hitler-like group of subhumans that dare to call themselves Americans!)

How proud you must be of how successfully they have absorbed the indoctrination that emphasizes party over nation .... except when a Democratic president is war mongering ...

all i have to say to the person who left that comment is- HA! those kids were amazing! id put my future into the hands of jerad, DK, or alex in a hearbeat...not so much taylor or greg, but at least half of those kids were amazing young people. this show proves that children can function alone, and have their own opions. i thought it was amazing that even children can see what a screw up george bush is-when 70% percent of the south/mid-west cant. i think that was one of my favorite parts of the show. watching 9 years olds bash good ol gw. maybe he'll lisiten when someone a little more on his level bashes him on national primetime tv. i think its completly unwise of you to discount this show. i dont own a tv-and frankly i hate 99.9% of what is on it. but thru a friend, i found that cbs.com had all the episodes up a day after they aired on tv. i was leary at first becuase i hate tv-especially the reality kind-but was amazed and shocked at how quickly i was drawn in by this group of young people. and at how upset i am that the show is over. most of those kids are going places. id love to see where they end up in the future i wish i had such an oppurtunity when i was their age.

ashley mac

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