Kayleigh McEnany fell for an online joke that children’s cartoon Paw Patrol had been pulled from the air as a result of ‘cancel culture’ in the midst of Black Lives Matter protests and calls to defund police.
In fact, it was being broadcast on Nickelodeon precisely as she spoke, with a new episode being screened later Friday afternoon.
While wrapping up her briefing Friday, the White House press secretary listed a number of cop-related shows or products that fell victim to what she claims is a left-leaning phenomenon of ‘cancel culture’ – and incorrectly including the children’s show in that rundown.
‘He’s [Trump’s] also appalled by cancel culture and cancel culture specifically as it pertains to cops,’ McEnany told reporters in the James S. Brady Briefing Room.
‘We saw a few weeks ago that Paw Patrol, a cartoon show about cops, was canceled,’ she claimed. ‘The show Cops was cancelled, Live PD was canceled. Lego halted the sales of their Lego police station.’
Paw Patrol tweeted: ‘No need to worry. PAW Patrol is not canceled,’ and included a dog face emoji.
It also Paw Patrol posted to its Instagram on Thursday a poster previewing its new episode, which aired Friday – proving the show is still producing new episodes.
‘Catch the pups in an all new episode of PAW Patrol: Dino Rescue this Friday on Nickelodeon,’ the post is captioned.
Her Lego claim was also false. The toy manufacturer had in fact told Brad Parscale, at the time Trump’s campaign manager, that it was untrue when he tweeted the claim in June.
The company had pulled back marketing on the police station set as well as a Lego White House in the wake of George Floyd’s death but had not ended sales.
McEnany had promised when she brought back White House briefings that she would not lie from the podium.
While a string of cop shows were actually pulled from TV schedules in the wake of nationwide protests against police brutality, pranksters online began satirical calls to ‘defund Paw Patrol.’
The joke to cancel the cartoon, which features talking cartoon dogs who run a police department, created a stir among conservatives online last month.
The amusing demands were made after the show’s official Twitter page issued a heartfelt statement calling for ‘Black voices to be heard’ following the tragic death of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
But the animated show – which follows the day-to-day heroics of a squad of essential-worker canines, including Chase, a German Shepherd police dog – likely never could have envisioned the responses its message would garner.
‘Euthanize the police dog,’ demanded the faux outrage mob. ‘Defund the paw patrol,’ echoed others in jest.
One meme even parodied the animated film ‘All Dogs Go to Heaven’, insisting that all pooches do indeed reach the Pearly Gates, ‘except the class traitors in the Paw Patrol’.
Some called the show pro-law enforcement ‘pawpaganda’; others demanded Chase’s resignation from the Adventure Bay Police Department.
While the calls were made in jest, they come at a time when relations between the black community and law enforcement have become incredibly fractured – with protests against police violence prevailing for nearly two months now.
McEnany was not the only one who thought the calls were not in jest.
Some of the biggest advocates against ‘cancel culture’ were outraged, falling trap to the jokes last month and believing the calls to cancel the show were genuine.
‘Now the left wants to cancel ‘Paw Patrol’,’ tweeted the president’s son, Eric Trump. ‘These people are truly insane…’
‘The rage mob is coming for PAW PATROL,’ conservative radio host Dana Loesch warned.
‘I’m sorry, I refuse to believe this is the New York Times, and not The Onion,’ Fourth Watch media critic Steve Krakauer tweeted.
Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly added that the fanfare was ‘beyond parody’.
That view was shared by former presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz, who said ‘The absurdity knows no end.’
The hashtag he accompanied the message with, ‘CancelCultureTargetsCartoons’, failed to catch on, however, with only others bucking the trend.
The ire has been cast against fictional and reality TV cops too, with A&E announcing the cancellation of its flagship series Live P.D. on Wednesday.
‘This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on Live PD,’ the network said in a statement to Deadline.
‘Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.’
The cancelation of Live P.D. comes a day after Paramount Network pulled the plug on another docuseries featuring the police, the long-running show Cops, which was axed after 32 seasons yesterday.