Sunday, August 21, 2011

SpongeBob GreenPants

Maybe I should learn to respect people who can compartmentalize current events, people who can listen to only parts of the news and disregard the uncomfortable stuff. I can’t do that. So I am consistently in a state of disequilibrium about politics and science and social justice and, well, just about everything.

The other day I saw a FOX news bit blasting Nickelodeon for “Pushing a Global Warming Agenda”. They criticized a SpongeBob SquarePants book and video about global climate change because “They did not tell kids that that [climate change] is a disputed fact.”

It is almost impossible for me to believe that a corporation as big as FOX, a group with a tremendous capability to research, with even the most cursory information, would deny the dangers of global climate change. It is incredibly unlikely that FOX just doesn't know any better.

Yet on the August 3 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said:

"The Department of Education invited a bunch of DC kids in and they had this festivity and they handed out these particular Nickelodeon books where clearly Nickelodeon is pushing a global warming agenda." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/3/11]

To get a sense for how irritated at Nickelodeon FOX and Friends are (is?) and how serious they are about denying global climate change, watch these clips.

CARLSON: The Department of Education using SpongeBob SquarePants now to teach kids about global warming. The government agency showed kids this cartoon and handed out books that blamed man for global warming, but they did not tell kids that that is actually a disputed fact.

If this wasn't so pathetic (and dangerous) it would be funny. But it is surely not funny. On its face, FOX's claim is incorrect. Here is a brief response from the Department of Education.

Department of Education: "We've Never Shown Any Videos" At The Reading Events. Contrary to Carlson's claim, Tim Tuten of the Department of Education said that the SpongeBob video was not shown at the reading events. "We've never shown any videos ever, so I have no idea where that is coming from," he said. Tuten added that participants were permitted to choose one of dozens of diverse books to take home with them and the SpongeBob book was one of those options. [Phone conversation, 8/3/11]

The department gave away "Spongebob" and "Dora the Explorer" books to elementary school kids at a Washington, D.C. event on July 20, but no cartoons were shown. Both books carry themes of conservation and environmental protection, as part of Nickelodeon's "Big Green Help" campaign, funded by numerous civic and community organizations. (

The spooky part for me is that FOX is serious about denying global climate change and how humans have influenced climate. It is not out of ignorance. FOX has their own agenda and it is a dangerous one. A LOT of people watch this network and believe their so called fair and balanced approach.

Although recent studies have shown that 97-98 percent of scientists who study climate agree that it is changing due to human industrial activity affecting the environment (Study Affirms Consensus on Climate Change, June 2010, NY Times), FOX's mission is to keep denying the obvious. Never being confused by climate science facts, there is an obvious attempt to obscure the truth by constantly suggesting that the jury is out on climate change. However these "news anchors" have actually been told to present information about climate change as though it is still some kind of obscure theory held by a few liberal scientists.

In an email leaked to liberal watchdog group Media Matters last year, Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon directed subordinates to cast doubt on a climate report, even though its results were not in question at all. The email was sent just moments after one of the network's anchors accurately reported that 2000-2009 was on track to be the "warmest" decade on record. (FOX boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science.

To me it is honestly a question of patriotism. My definition of patriotism includes doing what is right for our country and our children's future. I would contend that recognizing the dangers of global climate change and acting on them in a responsible way, and soon, is what is best for our country and our children. Honestly, anything else seems anti-intellectual - and definitely unpatriotic.

You go, SpongeBob!

1 comment:

Chris Hass said...

Hey man, I love that you keep acting surprised. I was checking out the Eagle Forum website earlier today (looking for opposing viewpoints to use in a proposal I'm writing for school). I read:

We oppose all encroachments against American sovereignty through United Nations treaties or conferences that try to impose global taxes, gun registration, energy restrictions, feminist goals, or regulation on our use of oceans.

We support the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile defense to protect American lives.

We support establishing English as our official language.

We oppose the feminist goals of stereotyping men as a constant danger to women, while at the same time pushing women into military combat against foreign enemies.

Eagle Forum successfully led the ten-year battle to defeat the misnamed Equal Rights Amendment with its hidden agenda of tax-funded abortions and same-sex marriages.

Every child should be able to read by the end of the first grade and should be taught to read using phonics.We urge parents to teach their own children to read before they enter school. Reducing illiteracy is an Eagle Forum priority.

We oppose and deplore the dumbing down of the academic curriculum through fads such as Outcome-Based Education and courses in self-esteem, diversity, and multiculturalism.

We oppose liberal propaganda in the curriculum through global education and Political Correctness.

With so many headscratchers it's really hard to pick a favorite. But if I were pressed to do so I'd have to say it's...

We oppose the feminist goal of federally financed and regulated daycare.