Fox News Takes on the Muppets

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
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Fox News Takes on the Muppets

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/05/fox-news-the-muppets-are-communist_n_1129173.html?

It ain't easy being green, but according to Fox Business, Kermit the Frog and his Muppet friends are reds.

Last week, on the network's "Follow the Money" program, host Eric Bolling went McCarthy on the new, Disney-released film, "The Muppets," insisting that its storyline featuring an evil oil baron made it the latest example of Hollywood's so-called liberal agenda.

Bolling, who took issue with the baron's name, Tex Richman, was joined by Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center, who was uninhibited with his criticism.

"It's amazing how far the left will go just to manipulate your kids, to convince them, give the anti-corporate message," he said.

"They've been doing it for decades. Hollywood, the left, the media, they hate the oil industry," Gainor continued. "They hate corporate America. And so you'll see all these movies attacking it, whether it was 'Cars 2,' which was another kids' movie, the George Clooney movie 'Syriana,' 'There Will Be Blood,' all these movies attacking the oil industry, none of them reminding people what oil means for most people: fuel to light a hospital, heat your home, fuel an ambulance to get you to the hospital if you need that. And they don't want to tell that story."

Indeed, there was no mention of the benefits of oil drilling in the Muppets, but there was also no discussion of any other aspect of the industry. Richman, played by Chris Cooper, was out to destroy the Muppets theater. Kermit and his friends, then, were not committed environmentalists (though one must imagine the frog is concerned with his swampy homeland) but simply puppets looking to save a place they once loved.

Still, Gainor blamed the film, and its predecessors, for Occupy Wall Street and the environmental movement.

"This is what they're teaching our kids. You wonder why we've got a bunch of Occupy Wall Street people walking around all around the country, they've been indoctrinated, literally, for years by this kind of stuff," Gainor said. "Whether it was 'Captain Planet' or Nickelodeon's 'Big Green Help,' or 'The Day After Tomorrow,' the Al Gore-influenced movie, all of that is what they're teaching, is that corporations is bad, the oil industry is bad, and ultimately what they're telling kids is what they told you in the movie 'The Matrix': that mankind is a virus on poor old mother Earth."

The Teletubbies were unavailable for comment. Mahna-Mahna.

Video of the Fox News debate at the link.

Indoctrination? Or just a silly kids' movie? Or educational?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I haven't seen this movie but I can think of others that definitely do represent an environmentalist view of evil man destroying the earth and I agree that Hollywood has a liberal slant. Happy Feet, Avatar, Ferngully are just a few that I can think of. I absolutely agree with the article that Hollywood purposely puts these messages in films. That being said, no one is forcing parents to let their kids watch those movies. It is my job as a parent to counteract this message if I let my kids watch the movie, or just not let them watch it. It is kind of sad to have to do that for movies that are supposed to be for kids though.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I haven't seen this movie but I can think of others that definitely do represent an environmentalist view of evil man destroying the earth and I agree that Hollywood has a liberal slant. Happy Feet, Avatar, Ferngully are just a few that I can think of. I absolutely agree with the article that Hollywood purposely puts these messages in films. That being said, no one is forcing parents to let their kids watch those movies. It is my job as a parent to counteract this message if I let my kids watch the movie, or just not let them watch it. It is kind of sad to have to do that for movies that are supposed to be for kids though.

Having seen the Muppets, I don't think that the message was specifically environmental. It's brought up that the bad guy wants to tear down the theater because there is oil under it. Other than that, it doesn't really talk about the environment or the oil industry. I think that what this movie is really speaking out against is greed. The bad guy in this movie is willing to do anything that it takes (including finding loopholes in a contract, shutting down a building's energy supply, even violence) to get what he wants. "What he wants" just happens to be the oil under the theater, but that definitely isn't central to the plotline. I can't imagine a parent that objects to the message that "It's not okay to cheat, lie, and hurt people just to get what you want." I think that's a pretty universal message.

I also think it's interesting that anyone would object to a movie that calls for people to be mindful of the environment and conservation. Better stewardship of our planet is the responsible and essential thing to do. I can't imagine why people would object to a movie that challenges children to understand that the earth is our home and needs some TLC. What exactly is wrong with that message?

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't speak directly to it. From your description, Alissa, it sounds innocuous enough.

But, wondering what's wrong with the message of taking care of the earth is oversimplification of the issue that's being presented. I recently watched Happy Feet with my boys and was interested by how very bad the big, rotten humans were and that there weren't any solutions, other than to all sing and dance and be happy. That's nice and everything, but there are real reasons that people do what they're doing.

We were recently discussing a "green" focus in my school and one of my students was on the morning announcements, reading a poem he or she had written. Part of the poem said something about "no more factories." These kids are developing some nebulous idea of factories and corporations being evil, but no real concept of the fact that lots of really important things have resulted from factories and corporations. Perhaps the author of that article is onto something. The Occupy Wall Street people also have some nebulous thought of how evil "big money" is, but have no real concept of how it all works or how to make it better.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

I have seen the movie though I don't have to see it to know that the idea is freakin' ludicrous. But that's what extremists do,find conspiracies and plots in every little thing until they are shut away from the world.

And since when is caring about the environment a solely democratic issue? Teddy Roosevelt was the biggest environmentalist and conservationist around and he was the head of the Republican Party for peets sake.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"b525" wrote:

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't speak directly to it. From your description, Alissa, it sounds innocuous enough.

But, wondering what's wrong with the message of taking care of the earth is oversimplification of the issue that's being presented. I recently watched Happy Feet with my boys and was interested by how very bad the big, rotten humans were and that there weren't any solutions, other than to all sing and dance and be happy. That's nice and everything, but there are real reasons that people do what they're doing.

We were recently discussing a "green" focus in my school and one of my students was on the morning announcements, reading a poem he or she had written. Part of the poem said something about "no more factories." These kids are developing some nebulous idea of factories and corporations being evil, but no real concept of the fact that lots of really important things have resulted from factories and corporations. Perhaps the author of that article is onto something. The Occupy Wall Street people also have some nebulous thought of how evil "big money" is, but have no real concept of how it all works or how to make it better.

See, and I didn't get that message from Happy Feet. In the end of the movie, the humans start banding together to put measures in place to protect the penguins. What I got from the movie is that the humans didn't consider the way their actions impacted other creatures (which I think is a pretty fair criticism) until a penguin caught their imagination and made them interested in penguins. Once penguins became real, interesting creatures to them, the humans realized that they should be conscious of how they can minimize their impact on the penguin population. I actually thought it was a really uplifting movie.

I get what you're saying about kids maybe not totally grasping the big picture and not knowing exactly what to do to help things (heck, I'm an adult and I don't know exactly how to help things!) but I don't think that the answer is to simply never present the issue or never talk about it. Movies have to be about something in order to be compelling, even kids movies. Most kids movies or shows try to present some moral or message, be it sharing or not mistreating people who are different (another theme in Happy Feet) or a even a message of conservation. I don't think that's a bad thing, and I don't think that we need to dumb it down and cut out those messages just because kids may not fully grasp everything. I think the only way they can start to grasp it is if they start to think about it, and they may not start to think about it if nothing ever presents the idea.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

I haven't seen it, but I really, really want to. I freakin love the muppets!!1 Wink

Anyhow, as for the movie specifically, I don't know. From the description, it sound innocent enough.

As for the larger part of the debate, Hollywood does slant more than gently left and their work represents that. Many, many directors writers have come out saying they intentionally interjected their political beliefs because of the forum and opportunity they had.

I don't agree with most liberal ideals, but I do agree in freedom of speech and expression. Who cares, really? If you feel the strongly about it don't take your kids to see the muppets.

DF gets really irked at the bias, but I don't. He was annoyed at Cars 2 and avatar for that very reason. I take it for entertainment not propaganda.

carg0612's picture
Joined: 09/23/09
Posts: 1554

"This is what they're teaching our kids. You wonder why we've got a bunch of Occupy Wall Street people walking around all around the country, they've been indoctrinated, literally, for years by this kind of stuff," Gainor said. "Whether it was 'Captain Planet' or Nickelodeon's 'Big Green Help,' or 'The Day After Tomorrow,' the Al Gore-influenced movie, all of that is what they're teaching, is that corporations is bad, the oil industry is bad, and ultimately what they're telling kids is what they told you in the movie 'The Matrix': that mankind is a virus on poor old mother Earth."

Sheesh, now whose getting paranoid! And whose spreading his own brand of propaganda.

Look, part of this is just good old fashioned entertainment. Many Americans LOVE an underdog story and part of why we see so many "anti-big-bad-boogy-man" type stories is for that very reason - it's enteraining and sells tickets. Period.

Ok, that being said, it is often that the folks who make movies will interject their political beliefs because that is the stage on which they choose to speak. And how, exactly, is that wrong? We are a country where saying what you want to say is ok whether that be on your own door step or, say, in a movie.

Yes, it happens that a left "slant" gets rolled into child-attractive characters but the kind of brainwashing that is illuded to in the quote is a bit far-fetched.

I mean, they can go a make a kid-friendly oil-friendly movie if they want to, no one's stopping them. Have at it, I say, make those oil guys look good, if you can!!

Sour grapes is what that's all about. Petulant children angry because they didn't think of the idea first.

Go nurse your wounded pride, dust yourself off, hop back on your environmental contamination charriot and go make your own movie as you see fit and stop whining like a baby!

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

While I do agree that many Hollywood movies have a left bend, it is my right to take or not take my child to see the movie. I remember as a child not being aloud to see Bambi because my father did not want me to resent hunting or hunters (which he was). Now, I still did see Bambi other places (school, Aunt's house) I still knew how he felt about it. I also support those people's rights to make such movie, in the same way other people have the right to make whatever movie they want to be it The Passion of the Christ, Fireproof, or whatever.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"b525" wrote:

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't speak directly to it. From your description, Alissa, it sounds innocuous enough.

But, wondering what's wrong with the message of taking care of the earth is oversimplification of the issue that's being presented. I recently watched Happy Feet with my boys and was interested by how very bad the big, rotten humans were and that there weren't any solutions, other than to all sing and dance and be happy. That's nice and everything, but there are real reasons that people do what they're doing.

We were recently discussing a "green" focus in my school and one of my students was on the morning announcements, reading a poem he or she had written. Part of the poem said something about "no more factories." These kids are developing some nebulous idea of factories and corporations being evil, but no real concept of the fact that lots of really important things have resulted from factories and corporations. Perhaps the author of that article is onto something. The Occupy Wall Street people also have some nebulous thought of how evil "big money" is, but have no real concept of how it all works or how to make it better.

I haven't seen a single one of the movies being discussed, so let me say that as a disclaimer. I tend to agree with Becky, however, and would like to give a very righteous AMEN to the bolded.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

Anybody seen the Barbie movie 'Thumbelina'? Holy leftism, batman. Synopsis - Thumbelina and friends must prevent their field/flowers from being torn up by fat ugly construction dude and crew driving mean, nasty diggers and tractors, because that's where their Twillerbabies are about to be born - imaginary little infants of the Twillerbees who are born from flowers. Evil construction crew employed by rich dude and wife who spoil their only daughter with whatever she wants but never spend quality time together. Twillerbees make family see error of their ways and stop demolition and construction for their new factory, thus saving the lives of all Twillerbees and every blade of grass or flower petal in the field. Of course, never once in the movie is it ever mentioned what the factory is for. Probably pure evil, though Wink

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"Potter75" wrote:

I haven't seen a single one of the movies being discussed, so let me say that as a disclaimer. I tend to agree with Becky, however, and would like to give a very righteous AMEN to the bolded.

Really? Because I don't think I expect my 6 yo to know or care about Occupy Wall Street or the inner workings of capitalism.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Because kids don't form opinions about general ideas before they know or care about current events?

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

Anybody seen the Barbie movie 'Thumbelina'? Holy leftism, batman. Synopsis - Thumbelina and friends must prevent their field/flowers from being torn up by fat ugly construction dude and crew driving mean, nasty diggers and tractors, because that's where their Twillerbabies are about to be born - imaginary little infants of the Twillerbees who are born from flowers. Evil construction crew employed by rich dude and wife who spoil their only daughter with whatever she wants but never spend quality time together. Twillerbees make family see error of their ways and stop demolition and construction for their new factory, thus saving the lives of all Twillerbees and every blade of grass or flower petal in the field. Of course, never once in the movie is it ever mentioned what the factory is for. Probably pure evil, though Wink

You're kidding right? It's a cartoon movie about fairies. Fairies live in a field. Who else would be the villian in a story about fairies? Tree huggers who hug trees too hard? The weather? Isn't being spoiled bad? Don't you want your children to not want to be spoiled? Sounds more like a movie about family.

Why don't you all make a list of the movies where the hero or "good guy" is rich. I'm sure that list is just as long. And I promise if liberals started moaning about how the right is trying to brainwash our children because Bruce Wayne is a millionaire and not a homeless man or because Sleeping Beauty is a princess and doesn't have to work 3 jobs for a living to support her family on welfare, then I would call them bat sh*t crazy, too.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

"b525" wrote:

I haven't seen the movie, so I can't speak directly to it. From your description, Alissa, it sounds innocuous enough.

But, wondering what's wrong with the message of taking care of the earth is oversimplification of the issue that's being presented. I recently watched Happy Feet with my boys and was interested by how very bad the big, rotten humans were and that there weren't any solutions, other than to all sing and dance and be happy. That's nice and everything, but there are real reasons that people do what they're doing.

We were recently discussing a "green" focus in my school and one of my students was on the morning announcements, reading a poem he or she had written. Part of the poem said something about "no more factories." These kids are developing some nebulous idea of factories and corporations being evil, but no real concept of the fact that lots of really important things have resulted from factories and corporations. Perhaps the author of that article is onto something. The Occupy Wall Street people also have some nebulous thought of how evil "big money" is, but have no real concept of how it all works or how to make it better.

I agree with this. Especially the last paragraph.

That said, of course, producers have the right to make any sort of movie they like. Whether my kids see those movies is up to me.

It does bother me though, when there is a perfectly innocent movie and there is a subtle underlying of a deeper message (the "bad factory" example is a good one). We need to have these discussions with our kids (and we, personally, do), but the subtle view points are tough because they are innocuous... However, like the famous quote (which I'm about to butcher because I can't remember it exactly) says, "if you hear the same thing said over and over, eventually you'll start believing it is true".

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"wlillie" wrote:

Because kids don't form opinions about general ideas before they know or care about current events?

If my kids can watch movies and tv and that is what shapes their world view, then I suck as a parent.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

This reminds me of the time all these parents went ape sh*t because they said someone put the word "SEX" in the swirling sand in Disney's The Lion King. Of course no kids probably notices until some idiot adult openned their mouth. That's kind of how I view this whole thing.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"culturedmom" wrote:

You're kidding right? It's a cartoon movie about fairies. Fairies live in a field. Who else would be the villian in a story about fairies? Tree huggers who hug trees too hard? The weather? Isn't being spoiled bad? Don't you want your children to not want to be spoiled? Sounds more like a movie about family.

Why don't you all make a list of the movies where the hero or "good guy" is rich. I'm sure that list is just as long. And I promise if liberals started moaning about how the right is trying to brainwash our children because Bruce Wayne is a millionaire and not a homeless man or because Sleeping Beauty is a princess and doesn't have to work 3 jobs for a living to support her family on welfare, then I would call them bat sh*t crazy, too.

No, I'm not kidding. This movie's moral is "Even the smallest person can make a difference" and while I completely agree with that statement I wasn't too crazy for "Nature v. Industry" feel of it. All I can say is you should watch this particular movie. In general, I LIKE Barbie movies because there's a moral to every one and I tend to agree with the morals they teach, but this movie, at least to me as an adult and a parent, seems to be trying to cast an underlying message to children about industry vs. environment - that they're in opposite corners and it's all black and white, which I don't necessary believe.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"culturedmom" wrote:

Really? Because I don't think I expect my 6 yo to know or care about Occupy Wall Street or the inner workings of capitalism.

I think that a lot of the protestors are a lot older than 6 and don't know a thing about how capitalism works either Smile That does not have anything to do with the concept that children shown only one side of things (OIL = BAD! GREED! EVIL!!!) etc can and will be affected by those messages. That goes for anything.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"Potter75" wrote:

I think that a lot of the protestors are a lot older than 6 and don't know a thing about how capitalism works either Smile That does not have anything to do with the concept that children shown only one side of things (OIL = BAD! GREED! EVIL!!!) etc can and will be affected by those messages. That goes for anything.

But Melis, you make it sound like there are parents out there who only let there kids watch movies with that message. Think about it, what kid is going to grow up only being expoed to that message? OK I'll conceed that if a child was raised only watching The Muppet Movie and FernGully and that was the extent of thier knowledge of capitalism then they might grow up having warped ideas of capitalism, the rich, and industry. But I think if they were only exposed to those movies and that was the extentof their experience with capitalism and such, they probably will have a lot worse problems then extreme liberal ideaology and hatred of big business.

I have probably watched much more tv and movies during my lifetime then just about anyone on this board. I assure you, there are many more kids movies that show all sides of life. It's just FOX and extremists who make it out to seem as if Hollywood hassome onesidede twisted agenda and every kid movie and show is about turning your babes into tree hugging-drum circle-dancing hippies.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

No, I'm not kidding. This movie's moral is "Even the smallest person can make a difference" and while I completely agree with that statement I wasn't too crazy for "Nature v. Industry" feel of it. All I can say is you should watch this particular movie. In general, I LIKE Barbie movies because there's a moral to every one and I tend to agree with the morals they teach, but this movie, at least to me as an adult and a parent, seems to be trying to cast an underlying message to children about industry vs. environment - that they're in opposite corners and it's all black and white, which I don't necessary believe.

What kids movie isn't black and white?My gosh I just hope people aren't looking to Barbie to teach their kids the morals and values of life.

BTW, I am not trying to say that cartoons and kids shows don't have agendas and morals built in. Of course they do, they are created by human beings and human beings are incapable of being objective. I've watched enough old school Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny to know that cartoons can promote racism (WB frog), anti-german propaganda, sexism, etc. I'm just saying for people to go around looking for hidden messages in every kids movie and turnign it into a political bipartisan news worthy fight is stupid.

My son and I watched an old Tom and Jerry that had the Mammy character. Talk about overt messages. But I am not worriedmy son will become a racist who hates Black people. Why? Because it's a cartoon and I am his mother and if I am doing any part of my job right, he won't look to cartoons for anything other then fun and entertainment.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"culturedmom" wrote:

But Melis, you make it sound like there are parents out there who only let there kids watch movies with that message. Think about it, what kid is going to grow up only being expoed to that message? OK I'll conceed that if a child was raised only watching The Muppet Movie and FernGully and that was the extent of thier knowledge of capitalism then they might grow up having warped ideas of capitalism, the rich, and industry. But I think if they were only exposed to those movies and that was the extentof their experience with capitalism and such, they probably will have a lot worse problems then extreme liberal ideaology and hatred of big business.

I have probably watched much more tv and movies during my lifetime then just about anyone on this board. I assure you, there are many more kids movies that show all sides of life. It's just FOX and extremists who make it out to seem as if Hollywood hassome onesidede twisted agenda and every kid movie and show is about turning your babes into tree hugging-drum circle-dancing hippies.

I guess (and I super willingly admit to not being a big movie or tv watcher) that these movies may exist which have a pro big business or pro industry or capitalism message (besides the fact that they themselves are big business of course, which is what makes it all so funny)......I just don't know of them.