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Thursday, January 25, 2007

SOTU Guest a Scam Artist?

The online magazine Slate has an amazing piece about Julie Aigner-Clark, founder of the Baby Einstein Co., who was a featured guest of President George Bush at his State of the Union address. Lauded by Bush as a "talented business entrepreneur and generous social entrepreneur," writer Timothy Noah reveals that experts (including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) regard the whole viedotapes-for-infants market as a scam. "There's no evidence that the videos are educational for babies, and a review of the research on babies and videos concludes that while older babies can imitate simple actions from a video they've seen several times, they learn much more rapidly from real life," said Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan Lynn. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children under 2 years of age shouldn't even watch TV.

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At January 25, 2007 2:19 PM , to said...

calling her a "scam artist" or a "charlatan" is over the top, even if Slate.com is really just trying to hit Bush. the british give a BAFTA Award to the Teletubies creator, cognitive psychologist Andrew Davenport. political hack Slate.com questions whether Clark should really be considered a "businesswoman." Is it that she is a woman that Slate.com doesn't like?

At January 25, 2007 3:57 PM , David said...

I saw somewhere that her husband in a Republican donated money to the Bush campaign.

At January 25, 2007 4:59 PM , Jeff said...

No, "to," nothing about being a woman, it's about making a fortune using a false premise (i.e., that the videos make babies smarter, and jump-start them toward admission to prestigious schools). She made her fortune from nervous, ambitious parents who fell for it.

Yes, David, the author added that fact as an addendum to the article.

At January 29, 2007 7:05 AM , cindy said...

The difference between Teletubbies and Baby Einstein is that Teletubbies are meant for Pre-K to enjoy whereas Little Einsteins marketing implies your infant will become more intelligent if they watch the LE videos. The product is bad. It's like if someone called Oreos "Skinny Treats" it's just a lie. If they renamed Little Einsteins "You're Too Tired To Pick Up That Kid, So Why Not Set Him in Front of this Video and Let his Mind Rot" and she still sold millions, then she would be a talented business entrepreneur. Right now she is a charleton whom preys on a Mothers fears of wanting to do everything to help their children succeed by deciding she could make a buck giving those mothers an easy out in a video. It's hogwash. I dispised her before I even knew she supported Bush.


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