*Left-wing activists are defending “Sesame Street” from attacks waged against it in a new book about TV’s liberal bias, and are attacking its author for using violent and homophobic rhetoric when discussing Sesame Street muppets during a recent interview on Sean Hannity’s TV show, reports the Hollywood Reporter.

Ben Shapiro, author of the book “Primetime Propaganda,” described his interview with Mike Dann, who left CBS to join the Children’s Television Workshop as vice president and work on “Sesame Street’ in its early days.

“(Dann) said the whole purpose of ‘Sesame Street’ was to cater to black and Hispanic youths who, quote-unquote, do not have reading literature in the house,” Shapiro told Hannity. “There’s kind of this soft bigotry of low expectations.”

In “Primetime Propaganda,” Shapiro quotes Dann from a May 2009 interview as saying, “It was underwritten and created primarily for black children, Spanish-speaking children. It was not made for the sophisticated or the middle class. …There’s no written material in a black household, but there is television.” [Listen to Dann’s entire quote in the “Primetime Propaganda” promo clip below.]

Earlier in the interview, Hannity said to Shapiro: “Every kid in America is gonna hate you. You’re taking on Elmo and Sesame Street and Big Bird in your book.”

Shapiro joked: “I kind of wanna take em out back and cap em.”

Shapiro also ridiculed the Sesame Street website for promoting “gender-neutral language. Make sure you give your boys dolls and make sure you give your girls fire trucks.”

Another guest, Ken Blackwell, the former secretary of state for Ohio, complained that the sort of gender-neutral advice promoted by Sesame Street has led to a high school choosing a gay boy as its prom queen.

All of this was too much for the liberal watchdog group Media Matters, which posted video at its DropFox.com website and is using it to try to convince advertisers to pull their ads off of FNC.

A gay rights website called The New Civil Rights Movement also posted the video along with a sharp rebuke of Shapiro, Hannity and Blackwell, as well as the fourth guest on the segment, Kirsten Haglund, a former Miss America.

Shapiro’s “cap em” joke, according to the group’s website, “represents how flip the right is about violence and murder.” The group also calls the Family Research Council, where Blackwell is a senior fellow, “a certified hate group.”

Watch Shapiro’s interview with Sean Hannity below.