If you’ve tuned into Fox News at all over the last couple days, you might be surprised that they’re not railing against stimulus packages or Joe Biden. Instead they’re yapping 24/7 about Dr. Seuss. Conservative pundits have been claiming the beloved children’s author has been “canceled,” all because his company yanked six of his books (out of over 60) from circulation due to racist content. But they haven’t always stood up for him. Indeed, it was less than a decade ago that the network was out for his head.
People have been posting Fox News clips from way back in 2012 — a very different era in which various commentators went A-bomb angry over The Lorax, a big screen adaptation of one of the writer’s most cherished works. Why the hate for Dr. Seuss? Because The Lorax is an overtly environmentalist screed that teaches kids not to utterly destroy Mother Nature. And Fox News, at least the Fox News of 2012, was not having any of that.
As a reminder, Fox News has not always been on Team Dr. Seuss pic.twitter.com/Qpm1dXj4tL
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) March 3, 2021
One montage started with Bill O’Reilly — remember Bill O’Reilly? — who took umbrage with the movie “providing children with a green message.” He put extra emphasis on “children,” because he believes there’s nothing more sinister than educating kids not be wasteful jerks. (It was during one of his “Pinheads and Patriots” segments, so presumably Seuss was amongst the “pinheads.”)
The montage also has a panel discussion featuring someone dressed up as a cat for some reason — this, long before the 2019 movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats — in which Greg Gutfeld advises one person trashing Seuss to “annotate children’s books from a conservative perspective.” And then there’s mustache king John Stossel, who felt said that “Dr. Seuss books are sexist.” What a time capsule!
But wait, there’s more! Lou Dobbs also wasn’t happy with the Lorax movie’s existence. He once dedicated a segment screaming about it and another film, Studio Ghibli’s The Secret Life of Arrietty,” bellowing that “Hollywood is once again trying to indoctrinate our children.” (Arrietty, for the record, is a Japanese film.) “Two new films out this year plainly with an agenda, plainly demonizing the so-called 1% and espousing the virtue of green energy policies come what may.”
Keep in mind, this is a very different era. Both Dobbs and O’Reilly are no longer on the Fox News payroll, the guy who was the vice president in 2012 is now the president, and conservatives are by and large tip-toeing around failed incumbent Donald Trump. Maybe it’s time for them to give The Lorax a Mulligan.