New Muppets Movie Accused of Brainwashing Kids

Actor Chris Cooper playing villain Tex Richman in the new Muppets movie.

“We’re teaching our kids class warfare!” Fox’s Eric Bolling said on Friday. “Where are we, communist China?”

What’s got him so upset? It’s the new Muppets movie, which features a villain curiously named Tex Richman.

The “Follow the Money” host skewered the new movie in a segment on Friday that seemed to be a warning to parents. The Washington Post explains:

The film features an evil oil baron named Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), who wants to raze the Muppets’ old theater to drill for the black gold. The gang reunites to host a major fundraiser to win their theater back.

Bolling saw it as an attack on the oil industry and capitalism, and invited Dan Gainor of the conservative Media Research Center to put in his two cents. Gainor made the leap that the Muppets’ efforts to save their theater was a puppet version of the Occupy movement. All it needs is a pepper-spraying cop.

Bolling’s guest, Dan Gainor, took it even further:

“This is what they’re teaching our kids. You wonder why we’ve got a bunch of Occupy Wall Street people walking 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 are 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.”

So did fellow Fox host Andrea Tantaros: “It’s brainwashing in the most obvious form. I just wish liberals could just leave little kids alone!”

Gainor added: “It’s amazing how far the left will go to manipulate your kids to give the anti-corporate message. I mean this is a Muppet movie for goodness sakes. The only thing green on the screen should be Kermit.”

You can watch the segment below:

Despite Bolling and his guests’ arguments, the Post isn’t buying it:

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.

Maybe he’d have a better case if Kermit had sung “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

The New York Daily News brushes the critique aside:

The Muppets and their cousins “Sesame Street” have long been targets for conservatives convinced liberal writers shoehorn their politics into shows and movies targeting kids.

But is the idea really that far-fetched? Consider the news that broke in May. Then, author Ben Shapiro in his book “Primetime Propaganda” revealed that Sesame Street executives admitted to sneaking in liberal messages:

For example, Shapiro quotes Mike Dann, one of Sesame Street’s founding executives, saying it “was not made for the sophisticated or the middle class.” Using the premise, the team worked in all sorts of messages, including Grover breaking bread with a hippie and Oscar the grouch who was supposed to address “conflicts arising from racial and ethnic diversity.” Dann also admitted he used the program in the wake of 9/11 to highlight peaceful alternatives to war.

“Sesame Street tried to tackle divorce, tackled ‘peaceful conflict resolution’ in the aftermath of 9/11 and had [gay actor] Neil Patrick Harris on the show playing the subtly-named ‘fairy shoeperson’,” writes Shapiro, according to THR.

And the Muppets movie isn’t the only kids movie currently in theaters that is being accused of pushing a liberal agenda. The New York Post’s Kyle Smith recently called the movie “Happy Feet Two” a “Kiddie Karl Marx.” He explains:

“Happy Feet Two” has a broad, lefty political agenda. It briefly brings up global warming (though, tellingly, only for a minute—Hollywood’s interest in stoking global warming fears seems to have peaked, which is convenient because the public has, after some frightened moments, decisively rejected the alarmist viewpoint) in a scene in which polar bears are shown clinging to shrinking icebergs. It also makes the case, somewhat half-heartedly, for vegetarianism (the penguins see humans roasting chickens, and get spooked). This doesn’t go very far, though, because penguins aren’t vegetarians though I suppose they’re pescetarians. And I’m sure I won’t be the only viewer who thinks that two male krill in the movie (played by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon) have now joined Oscar and Felix and Bert and Ernie as pairs of unusually close confirmed bachelors.

Painting businessmen as evil isn’t anything new. And it would certainly fall in line with a liberal Hollywood message. So the question is: Is that what is going on in the new Muppets movie?

In trailers posted for the movie, that message isn’t apparent (which could even help critics who would say the trailers are sneaky in that they don’t accurately reflect the message):

Still, Richman does have a rap in the movie that does the job of pointing out that he’s a greedy villain:

Have you seen the movie? What do you think?

By the way, Cooper’s performance as Richman, especially his musical number, isn’t getting the best reviews.