On Saturday, CNN’s Erica Hill and Dr. Sanjay Gupta hosted a virtual town hall featuring various characters from the long-running PBS children’s series “Sesame Street.”
This followed the recent announcement from the FDA last month that approved of children ages 5-11 receiving a kid-sized version of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The CNN town hall was promoted not only by the network and its journalists, but the characters as well. Big Bird’s Twitter account read, “I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy. Ms. @EricaRHill even said I’ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!”
The account for Elmo also wrote, “Elmo was so happy to talk to @DrSanjayGupta at the town hall today! Elmo learned that Elmo’s friends can get the COVID-19 vaccine now, and soon Elmo can too!”
Various conservative Twitter users accused CNN of using Sesame Street characters as a form of propaganda to push COVID-19 vaccinations on children.
Fox News columnist Karol Markowicz tweeted, “I called it yesterday on Tucker Carlson Tonight with @willcain that Big Bird was going to get canceled so fast unless he gets vaxxed. Elmo, you’re next.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted, “Government propaganda…for your 5 year old!”
Political commentator Stephen L. Miller wrote, “You’re not real and can’t catch Covid.”
CNN previously featured Sesame Street characters in a town hall called “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” back in June 2020. That virtual town hall was also hosted by Erica Hill, along with CNN journalist Van Jones.
Various users referenced the incident in October when podcast host Joe Rogan called out Gupta for his network framing taking ivermectin for his COVID-19 treatment as ingesting “horse dewormer.”
“Does it bother you that the network you work for out and out lied, just outright lied about me taking horse dewormer?” Rogan grilled Gupta.
“They shouldn’t have said that,” Gupta admitted.
Gupta later also admitted that Rogan did not take horse dewormer.
Fox News’ Joseph Wulfsohn contributed to this report.