Fox News Manufactures SpongeBob Global Warming 'Controversy' (Video)


Image: Owen Prior via Flickr/CC BY

There are primarily two kinds of Fox News pundits: The kind-of-dumb blowhard who actually believes the dumb things that he's saying (I'd drop Beck and O'Reilly in this bin) and the deceptively intelligent blowhard who knows how to effectively manipulate dumb ideas into audience-pleasing populist polemics (hello, Hannity). What makes the morning show Fox & Friends so bizarrely alluring is that it's populated by a combination of the two: you get the feeling that Gretchen Carlson really knows better than her overwhelmed-suburban-mom shtick would let on, but it seems like Steve Doocy and whoever that other guy is really buy the exceedingly idiotic pap they blubber on about.

Case in point: These sleuths have discovered that the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants is the latest insidious plot to convince kids that global warming is real. And here are their "thoughts" on this revelation, if you can call them that:

Two important things to note here: There's no evidence at all that there actually were any upset parents complaining about the SpongeBob plot line -- but framing the story as "the SpongeBob cartoon acknowledged the existence of global warming last night, and we don't like it, so we're going to try to manufacture some outrage" probably just seemed a little limp.

Second -- and this probably goes without saying -- there's nothing outrageous about a cartoon using science for a plot. 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is causing the earth to warm. It's about as "scientifically proven" as a theory gets. Trying to pass an innocuous storyline like this off as an attempt at indoctrination isn't just wrong, it's idiotic -- and I suppose, par for the course for Fox.

Imagine if Captain Planet were still on the air -- Fox pundits would lose their shit every night.

Oh, and that whole thing about the government showing the cartoon to kids? That's not even true. Didn't even happen -- when contacted for comment by Media Matters, the Department of Education explained that they've never showed videos of any kind at any of their reading events. And so, once again, Fox proves itself to be a blinding light of journalistic excellence.

Jess Zimmerman's got a funny take on the whole thing over at Grist, too.

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