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Follow the Money was a nightly television program on Fox Business Network.
Are liberals trying to brainwash your kids against capitalism?
On December 2, 2011 the program focused on the "message" of the film The Muppets. Host, Eric Bolling suggests that the movie has an anti-capitalism agenda by making the new Muppet "villain" a rich oil executive.
Guest Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center stated that the message of The Muppets is comparable to The Matrix, that "mankind is a a virus on poor old Mother Earth." Gainor asked why, just once, oil businessmen couldn't be portrayed as valuable, upstanding members of society.
The second commentator turns the focus to Sesame Street, talking about "the hungry Muppet, the starving Muppet"; the host suggests that there should be an evil Obama Muppet causing the hunger. One commentator defending the film suggests "McDonald's has about seven different ways to pressure their parents, if marketers have access to our children, why shouldn't we be telling them the truth about our corporations"; Bolling retorts that "we're teaching our children class warefare. where are we, communist China?"
- Big Hollywood: "In Hollywood, daring to cast a Muslim character can be considered a hate crime, but repeatedly casting businessmen, Christians and Southerners as villains is enlightened."
- The Blaze (Glenn Beck-run site): "Painting businessmen as evil isn’t anything new. And it would certainly fall in line with a liberal Hollywood message."
- Entertainment Weekly (Article): "Don’t laugh, citizens. Films like Happy Feet, It's a Wonderful Life, and Bambi are a Trojan horse of anti-American propaganda most 6-year-olds are not sophisticated enough to decipher. Today, they’re singing “Life's a Happy Song”. Tomorrow, they’re getting pepper-sprayed by a patriot. And if you think I’m being alarmist, look back to 1979. The movie was… The Muppet Movie. In it, a successful self-made businessman (Charles Durning) simply wanted Kermit to promote his company. He was willing to pay handsomely. Kermit, who’s always been a puppet, stubbornly said no. Kermit hated capitalism. He was looking for “rainbows.” The movie, unfortunately, was a hit. And the frog legs industrial complex never recovered. Do you really want the oil industry to be the next Doc Hoppers?"
- Gothamist: "Oh, Fox Business News, never change. In one of those ‘if it weren’t real we would think it were an Onion story’ moments, Fox Business show Follow the Money recenty had a segment in which they warn that the new Muppets movie is going to ‘brainwash’ our children into socialist plushies."
- Huffington Post: 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."
- New York Daily News: To whether the movie was Communist, 74% of respondents chose the option "No, it's just a fun, family-friendly movie, settle down!"
- Perez Hilton (Article): "Look Gainor, if U weren't a fan of The Day After Tomorrow, then fine…but leave our Muppets out of this, please! The movie was absolutely adorable and good hearted!"
- Washington Post: But there’s one problem with Bolling’s rant: Environmentalism wasn’t mentioned in the movie. The Muppets save their theater because it’s a landmark and their historical home — not because they’re trying to hinder the oil industry’s progress, or save the planet.
During a United Kingdom press conference for The Muppets' British release, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy responded to the controversy. A reporter asked, "I've got to ask you how you felt when — I think it was Eric Bolling from Fox News said it was pushing a dangerous liberal agenda and trying to brainwash children."
Kermit tried to defuse the situation, replying, "I can tell you that's categorically not true. And besides, if we had a problem with oil companies, why would we have spent the entire film driving around in a gas-guzzling Rolls Royce?"
Miss Piggy retorted: "It's almost as laughable as accusing Fox News as, you know, being news,"
"Boy, that's gonna be all over the Internet. You are in such deep water," Kermit said.
Piggy responded, "Yeah. Yeah, if they take what I say seriously, they've got a real big problem."