Red and green and watched all over: Fox accuses Kermit the communist

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Programme host on Murdoch-owned news network accuses 'liberal Hollywood' of bias

Los Angeles

It ain't easy being green, but in an America that marches to the beat of shouty rolling-news networks, it's even harder being red. Just ask Kermit the Frog.

Click on the image to see Tim Walker's guide to the propaganda puppets

The Muppets have been accused of brainwashing a nation's children with Communist propaganda because their new movie features as its villain the chief executive of an oil company.

This surreal controversy erupted on Monday after Eric Bolling, a right-wing pundit employed by Rupert Murdoch's Fox network, voiced outrage at the fact that Tex Richman, the film's fictional baddie, is a wealthy businessman who made his fortune from fossil fuels.

In a segment of his business show Follow the Money, which rapidly went viral, Mr Bolling said he was disgusted that a movie aimed at young audiences should portray successful job creators in such a negative fashion.

"We're teaching our kids class warfare," he said. "What are we? Communist China?" Then he brought on Dan Gainor, of a conservative monitoring organisation called the Media Research Center, and asked: "Is liberal Hollywood brainwashing our kids?"

Mr Gainor replied in the affirmative. "It's amazing how far the left will go just to stop, just to manipulate your kids," he said. "To convince them, to give them an anti-corporate message."

In the plot of The Muppets movie, which opened last month, Mr Richman is seeking to destroy the theatre where the puppets perform to drill for "sweet, sweet oil".

To Mr Gainor, that forms part of a dubious pattern. He cited such films as Pixar's Cars 2, which also portrayed the oil industry in a negative fashion, as evidence of an anti-corporate bias. "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," he said.

Back in the studio, the Fox News host Andrea Tantanos took the ball and ran with it. "It's brainwashing in the most obvious form, right?" she said. "I just wish liberals could leave little kids alone."

Video clips of their seven-minute discussion were swiftly disseminated via the internet, sparking furious debate. To observers on the left, it provided a note-perfect case study in the paranoid excesses of America's most influential conservative news outlet.

Media Matters, a liberal monitoring organisation that streamed the clip on its website, was particularly amused by a moment in which Bolling declared that the "real villain" of The Muppets should be "the Obama administration".

In case people thought it was part of a satirical spoof, the site stressed that Mr Bolling's comments were indeed taken from a genuine piece of Fox footage. The Washington Post warned Fox was ignoring that Kermit and Miss Piggy promote an interspecies relationship.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

Recruitment Genius: Account Executive - Graduate / Entry Level

£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...

Guru Careers: PR Account Director / SAM

£50 - 60k (DOE) + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: A PR Account Director / SAM ...

Guru Careers: Research Analyst / Business Insight Analyst

£32 - £37K + extensive benefits: Guru Careers: Research Analyst / Business Ins...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific