Bolling's Muppet-Bashing Just The Latest Right-Wing Attack On Kids' Programs
Research ››› ››› MELODY JOHNSON
Led by Eric Bolling, Fox recently attacked The Muppets as having a liberal agenda to "brainwash" kids against capitalism. Right-wing media have a long history of attacking kids' movies and TV shows, including Sesame Street and SpongeBob SquarePants.
Bolling Leads Fox Freakout: "Liberal Hollywood" Is "Using Class Warfare" To "Brainwash Our Kids" Through The Muppets
Bolling: "Is Liberal Hollywood Using Class Warfare To Kind Of Brainwash Our Kids?" During the December 2 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money, host Eric Bolling discussed the plot to the Muppets movie with Media Research Center's Dan Gainor. Noting that the antagonist of the film is an oil tycoon named "Tex Richman," Bolling asked, "Is liberal Hollywood using class warfare to kind of brainwash our kids?" Gainor responded by saying: "Yeah, absolutely. And they've been doing it for decades."
During the segment, on-screen text asked, "Are liberals trying to brainwash your kids against capitalism?"
[Fox Business, Follow the Money, 12/2/11, via Media Matters]
Tantaros: The Muppets Movie Is "Brainwashing In The Most Obvious Form." Later on the December 2 Follow the Money, Fox News' Andrea Tantaros said that The Muppets is "brainwashing in the most obvious form":
TANTAROS: It's brainwashing in the most obvious form, right? I just wish liberals could leave little kids alone. Why does there have to be some kind of political message? I thought Sesame Street was supposed to be sharing and being nice to people, but over the years they've gotten more liberal. I mean, just a couple months ago, we talked about this on The Five, remember they had the hungry Muppet? The starving Muppet?
Bolling responded by saying that "the evil person [should be] the Obama administration or Obama. After all, under Obama, food stamp usage has gone up 40 percent." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 12/2/11, via Media Matters]
Bolling Again Criticizes Muppets Movie: "How Much More Demonizing Can You Be To Capitalism? It's Terrible." During the December 5 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money, Bolling said:
BOLLING: We called out the new Muppets for demonizing oil executive Tex Richman and for brainwashing our kids with an anti-capitalist agenda. The liberal media went -- pipeline went into overdrive with Media Matters' blasting me and even NBC picking up on it, Huffington Post, etc., etc., etc. Guys, come on. It's pretty obvious, is it not?
Let me go to you, Chris Plante. Tex Richman is an evil oil executive who wants to take down the studio because there might be oil underneath it. I mean, how much more demonizing can you be to capitalism and -- yeah, it's terrible. [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 12/5/11, via Media Matters]
But Bolling Is Just The Latest: Right-Wing Media Have Repeatedly Attacked Kids' Entertainment
Fox: "Elmo [Is] Taking A Trip To Pakistan ... On The Taxpayers' Dime." During the November 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade attacked a U.S. government effort to help produce a Pakistani version of Sesame Street by stating that Elmo is "taking a trip to Pakistan ... on the taxpayers' dime." [Media Matters, 11/2/11]
For more on Elmo's "trip to Pakistan," SEE HERE.
Right-Wing Media Complained About Lily The Poverty-Stricken Muppet. Following the announcement that Sesame Street would introduce a new character, Lily, in a one-time special about children's world hunger in order to educate children about the epidemic, right-wing media figures attacked the Muppet. For example, during the October 7 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Andrea Tantaros called Lily the poverty-stricken Muppet "the biggest bunch of liberal bull." The following graphic accompanied the segment:
Bolling: "I'm Waiting For [Sesame Street] To Come Out And Have Like This Evil Republican Or Tea Partier." During the October 17 broadcast of Follow the Money, Bolling said: "I'm waiting for them to come out and have like this evil Republican or tea partier that they're going to blame Lily's poverty on." Guest Cheri Jacobus responded by saying, "If you don't speak out against their political agenda, that's probably what will happen." [Fox Business, Follow the Money, 10/7/11, via Media Matters]
Hannity Panel: Sesame Street Can Lead To Male Prom Queens. During the June 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity, a panel that included conservative columnist Ben Shapiro and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell discussed Sesame Street's supposed "liberal bias." According to Shapiro, the Sesame Street website encourages parents to use "gender neutral language" and "give your boys dolls" and "give your girls fire trucks." Blackwell stated that this kind of language was responsible for a male being elected prom queen at a school in Virginia, which Blackwell called part of "a direct assault on this country's moral foundation."
During the segment, the following on-screen text aired:
[Fox News, Hannity, 6/2/11, via Media Matters]
Big Hollywood's Larry O'Connor: "I Can't Even Sit My Kids In Front Of 'Sesame Street' Without Having To Worry About The Left Attempting To Undermine My Authority." In a November 3, 2009, post to Andrew Breitbart's website Big Hollywood, Larry O'Connor wrote:
Add one more soldier to the Left's war on Fox News: Oscar the Grouch.
Last week, in a re-broadcast of an episode that originally aired two years ago, Oscar starts his own news network, GNN (Grouchy News Network). An irate viewer calls in to berate him that the news is not grouchy enough:
"I am changing the channel. From now on I am watching 'Pox' News. Now there is a trashy news show."
Later in the episode, Anderson Cooper from 4th place CNN, guest stars as a reporter for GNN. He interacts with "Walter Cranky" and "Dan Rather-Not" -- Muppets representing real-life liberal news personalities -- and they talk about "Meredith Beware-a" and "Diane Spoiler." But no affectionate nicknames for Fox News personalities; no Spill O'Reilly or Brittle Hume -- nope, and the only disparaging characterization of real-world news is reserved for Fox: Fox is a POX. It is trashy. They didn't even attempt to try "MessyNBC."
The message is clear, I can't even sit my kids in front of "Sesame Street" without having to worry about the Left attempting to undermine my authority. [Big Hollywood, 11/3/09, via Media Matters]
Fox's Steve Doocy: "Clearly Nickelodeon Is Pushing A Global Warming Agenda." On the August 3 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said:
DOOCY: [T]he Department of Education invited a bunch of DC kids in, and they had this festivity, and they handed out these particular Nickelodeon books where clearly Nickelodeon is pushing a global warming agenda. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11, via Media Matters]
Fox's Gretchen Carlson: SpongeBob "Blamed Man For Global Warming" But "Did Not Tell Kids That That Is A Disputed Fact." Fox & Friends aired clips from the SpongeBob video and co-host Gretchen Carlson said:
CARLSON: The Department of Education using SpongeBob SquarePants now to teach kids about global warming. The government agency showed kids this cartoon and handed out books that blamed man for global warming, but they did not tell kids that that is actually a disputed fact. Oops! [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11, via Media Matters]
For the truth about Carlson's claim that the Department of Education used a SpongeBob video and book to teach kids about global warming, SEE HERE.
Doocy Claimed Unnamed "Parents" Think SpongeBob Book Pushes "Over-The-Top Green Agenda." On Fox & Friends, Doocy said:
DOOCY: The Department of Education giving kids free books about SpongeBob. Seems like a good idea, right? Well, some parents don't think so. They say the books are being used to push an over-the-top green agenda regarding global warming. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11, via Media Matters]
Fox: SpongeBob Showed "Bias" By Blaming Humans For Global Warming. The following on-screen text aired during the August 3 edition of Fox & Friends:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11, via Media Matters]
The Blaze Claimed SpongeBob Is "Indoctrinating Children" With The "Overtly Controversial Stance" That Manmade Climate Change Exists. From an August 2 post on Glenn Beck's website The Blaze:
Is the U.S. Department of Education indoctrinating children to accept man-made global warming as fact?
On July 20, 2011, kids in the Washington, D.C. area were treated to free books during a special U.S. Department of Education event. Two of the books that were offered featured popular Nickelodeon characters as part of the network's "Big Green Help Series," a campaign encouraging children to help protect the Earth.
But one of these publications takes an overtly controversial stance, as it promotes the idea that global warming is a man-made problem that requires human intervention in order to be stemmed. [The Blaze, 8/2/11, via Media Matters]
Michael Medved: Happy Feet Contained "A Subtext That Appears To Plead For Endorsement Of Gay Identity" And A "Bizarre Anti-Religious Bias." In a November 17, 2006, Townhall.com post titled, "Don't Be Misled By Crappy Feet," conservative commentator Michael Medved called the animated movie Happy Feet "the darkest, most disturbing feature length animated film ever offered by a major studio." He further claimed that the film contains "a bizarre anti-religious bias" and "a subtext that appears to plead for endorsement of gay identity." Medved also attacked Happy Feet in a November 29, 2006, op-ed in USA Today for its purported "pro-environmental" propaganda. [Media Matters, 12/15/06]
Beck: Happy Feet Is "An Animated Version Of An Inconvenient Truth." On the November 20, 2006, edition of his CNN Headline News program, Beck said that Happy Feet is "propaganda" and an "animated version of An Inconvenient Truth." [Media Matters, 11/21/06]
Cavuto "Half-Expected To See An Animated Version Of Al Gore Pop Up" In Happy Feet. On the November 20, 2006, edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto called Happy Feet an "animated version of An Inconvenient Truth," stating that he "half-expected to see an animated version of Al Gore pop up." [Media Matters, 11/21/06]
On Fox, Newsmax's Hirsen Said Nickelodeon Promotes "Political Indoctrination," Including "Homosexual Parenting." On the March 26, 2010, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Newsmax's James Hirsen claimed that "Nickelodeon, time after time, throws in political indoctrination. They have an agenda. They've proven it -- they've proven it in very controversial areas like global warming science -- or maybe not science -- like in the area of immigration, and in the area of homosexual parenting." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/26/10, via Media Matters]
Citing G.I. Joe Movie, Beck Warned Of A Possible "One-World-Government Nightmare." During the October 30, 2007, edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck attacked the then-upcoming G.I. Joe movie, claiming that the title character "has now been discharged from the American military, and Hollywood now has him answering to some bullcrap international force like the U.N. We all know that the U.N. is a toothless bunch of pansies. They don't deserve somebody like Joe, even the little plastic version." He later asserted, "I believe some are trying to indoctrinate our kids into hating their own country, turning us into some one-world-government nightmare; hating America, turning it into a dirty word." [HLN, Glenn Beck, 10/30/07, via Media Matters]