The Muppets aren’t communists

Story by Eric Christenson

In a recent segment on his business show, “Follow the Money” Fox News anchor Eric Bolling went after the new movie “The Muppets” for making a villain out of a rich, zealous oil tycoon (read: a wholesome, successful businessman, who is a responsible, hard worker) named Tex Richman (played by Chris Cooper).

Okay, I’ve seen the movie and this is how it goes.  Tex Richman is a cartoonishly evil villain that’s threatening to tear down the Muppets’ studio in L.A. because there’s oil under it.  There’s a good joke where he says something like, “There’s oil down there, I can smell it.  Also, the geological survey says it’s down there.”  He’s
a classic villain.

But Bolling and his shrill guests dramatically lament the fact that Tex Richman is a successful man who shouldn’t be made a villain just for the sake of wanting to be more successful.  They blame “liberal Hollywood” for teaching kids and families that capitalism is bad, communism is good and, as Andrea Tantaros puts it, “there’s no competitive source on the market besides crude (oil).”

I mean … maybe the Muppets are trying to teach kids about the oil market’s ins and outs.  Or maybe it’s actually more about providing a reason for the Muppets to come back together for one last show.  Who knows, really?

But let’s be serious for a second.  This Fox News show is actually, sincerely criticizing the Muppets for being communist liberals.  That’s actually happening.

It’s silly to take what’s essentially a kids’ movie that seriously, but it points to a bigger issue: Fox News is ridiculously and foolishly paranoid that everyone in Hollywood and everyone in news is liberal, progressive and feeding nonsense to their children.

The whole point of Fox News is to provide a voice that is supposedly fair and balanced.  They get the term “fair and balanced” by the delusion that every other news organization in the country is spouting off 100 percent clear, unfiltered liberal propaganda.  And therefore, by spouting what is essentially conservative propaganda with extreme, arrogant confidence, the delusion transforms the message into a sincere belief that the message is truth.

It’s an interesting paranoia and it probably exists in the hearts of every Fox News talking head and most of the fervent viewing audience.  But to take out the rage on The Muppets? Is this what it’s come down to?

To stoop to so low as to truly believe that THE MUPPETS are filling your children’s heads with ghastly ideas about capitalism and the oil market so they may start formulating opinions and thinking for themselves and searching for truth on their own is to truly lose any sight of a leeching grasp at mere sanity and any fleeting thought about a waning opportunity for reasonable political discussion in this country.

Maybe Fox News’s paranoid mentality points more to a population clinging to strands of reckless speculation because the “truth” they so desperately need to believe isn’t actually true at all.

It comes down to being cynical, so stubbornly, frustratingly cynical that you can’t enjoy a fun movie with your family on Thanksgiving weekend without painting it to be a piece of anti-capitalist propaganda designed to indoctrinate your children into a communist society full of gay-married government employees and agnostic, environmentalist English majors.

That points more to your own emotional instability than the supposed dark underpinnings of a few puppets in a family movie.

Eric Christenson is a senior print journalism major and Currents Editor at The Spectator.