Baby Einstein Replies
An e-mail from Julia Aigner-Clark, and a reply.
To be fair, you neglected to mention [in "Bush's Baby Einstein Gaffe," Jan. 24] the $200,000 that I've donated to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (every penny of profit made by The Safe Side), the donation of a child safety program to every school district in the state of Texas, and the nearly $2 million dollars I've personally invested in educating kids on how to stay safe. Apparently, the $5,000 that my husband donated to a Republican Senator (not Bush) takes precedence.
But I'm sure you consider yourself fair and balanced? Oh--and you might fact-check to determine which videos were produced by me prior to the sale of Baby Einstein to Disney. I didn't make Baby DaVinci, nor did I make any of the claims that you referenced in your article.
And I was raised a Democrat! Imagine that.
Have a great day.
Ms. Aigner-Clark is the founder of Baby Einstein, which she sold to the Walt Disney Co. in 2001. President Bush touted her accomplishments during the "heroes" portion of his 2007 State of the Union address (click here for the video).
2.) I applaud your charitable contributions. I don't rate them up there with leaping in front of a subway train to rescue a stranger, or repelling an enemy attack with two legs full of shrapnel, which is what two of the other honored "heroes" (seated with you beside the first lady in the House visitor's gallery) did. But they're generous contributions. You can afford them.
3.) I'm glad to learn that you no longer owned Baby Einstein when the video Baby DaVinci was marketed with the outrageous claim, "[Y]our child will learn to identify her different body parts, and also discover her five senses … in Spanish, English, and French!" That claim is one basis for a consumer complaint filed against Baby Einstein with the Federal Trade Commission last spring—a complaint that includes letters of support from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
But another basis for the complaint (see p. 7) is the name of the company itself, which was bestowed on your watch:
The brand name "Baby Einstein" sends an initial message to consumers that the videos are educational and beneficial. Even Baby Einstein founder Julie Clark has admitted that the name "Einstein has become a generic term for a smart person."
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.