OPINION: Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax under Fox News’ crosshairs

Think post-apocalyptic world meets an outdoor Chuck E. Cheese with the animal characters from every Disney movie. Now make it 3-D.

Welcome to the latest version of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. It’s one of those family films that children love and allows parents to return to their childhood memories of the story. Though, for the most part, it lacks those adult references that go over the heads of children in the audience but parents appreciate so much.

The film so far has stunned the box office, producing much higher numbers than many anticipated. The wholesome environmental message (greed causes destruction and corporations are destroying the planet) makes it one of those films parents can trust to instill the right messages in their children. But apparently not everyone saw this message as a positive one.

Following the premiere, Lou Dobbs of Fox News spoke out against The Lorax with a vengeance, saying it was just another example of Hollywood brainwashing children and trying to push a liberal agenda, creating “Occu-toddlers.” He blamed both Obama for his idea that everyone should pay their fair share, and other liberals who push green energy policies.

Wait, what? Excuse me? Hasn’t this story been around for decades? Haven’t parents and teachers been reading this story to children since 1971? And now Fox is mad at Hollywood?

Yes, the film pushes against large corporations that are more concerned about the bottom line than about the environment, but can people really be upset if the children watching the film walk away with new values? It’s doubtful many parents would want to take their kids to see a film that would teach them to be greedy and break promises.

The pre-teen I took to the film left the theater talking about how funny the characters were, how weird some of the songs were, and how cool the Truffula Trees looked. Even if Hollywood was trying to push an agenda into her young mind, whatever that agenda may have been was not the first thing she thought about after the movie. Because that’s ridiculous.

The filmmakers behind The Lorax created a film based on a book that already had a message. Think what you will about Dr. Seuss -  the man wrote great children’s books that have transcended generations because having a strong moral compass has been an important lesson for decades.

It is insane to think that a film as simple and whimsical as The Lorax could spark such a debate about what children are being taught. The film definitely contains a message, but what is not apparent is how this message could be viewed negatively. It contains no discussion of governments or political parties. It does not once mention the word “liberal.” If kids walk out of it talking about something deeper than the cute bears singing songs, then these were obviously prominent values instilled in them already.

I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised when looking at Fox News’ track record with children’s programming. In December, Fox Business commentator Eric Bolling attacked the new Muppets movie saying that as always they were demonizing a business man and that it was another example of Hollywood’s liberal agenda.

Another Fox News announcer took issue with Sesame Street a couple years ago when they introduced their own television show called Pox News, which was a parody of the conservative channel. Those were the sort of references meant for the parents that went beyond the children’s understanding. And in reacting so vehemently to the children’s program Fox News helped make this even more a mockery.

Any film that allows parents an afternoon off from entertaining their children and pushes a wholesome message about honesty and respecting the environment is going to be a box office hit. And with all the other media out there that gives children ideas about weapons, violence, and sex, it is remarkable to think that The Lorax is what Fox finds issue with.

Leah Kennedy I write everyday of my life. I am obsessed with social media, Pinterest, sports, advertising, coffee, and my Ducks. At some point I will live in New York City, go for runs through Central Park, and turn my bright blue eyes up to the city lights.

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