Following the simple and easy-to-use building instructions imprinted on the back of their ideological boxes, Fox News has constructed another controversy out of a work of children’s entertainment—this time The Lego Movie. Like its past outrages over The Muppets and The Lorax, the network has lashed out at the film for attempting to indoctrinate the naïve with simpleminded messages about capitalism, only for the wrong team, blasting a movie based on a global, multibillion-dollar toy manufacturer—and the reinvigoration of its branding through movie-generated merchandising—as being “anti-business.”
Unlike The Muppets, which tried—but failed—to mask its anti-corporate message from Fox News by giving its tycoon villain the subtle name “Tex Richman,” The Lego Movie doesn’t even bother to hide its agenda, calling its main antagonist “Lord Business.” And the fact that Lord Business is meant to represent business definitely wasn’t lost on Fox Business host Charles Payne, who works every day at a network with “Business” in its name, so you’re not going to put one over on him. Indeed, Payne even noticed that Lord Business “looks a little bit like Mitt Romney,” in that both are plastic, malleable, and easily held up as props for the opinions of Fox commentators.
“Why is the head of a corporation, where they hire people, people go to work, they pay their rent, their mortgage, they put their kids through college, they feed their families, they give to charities, they give to churches—why would the CEO be an easy target?” Payne demands of his guest, Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian, whose meek defense against Payne’s “Ode On A CEO” makes him the functional-yet-weak, 1x1 angular brick of Payne’s one-sided argument. Halfheartedly suggesting The Lego Movie might at least “start a debate” about the nature of business within incredibly depressing households, Dergarabedian is immediately steamrolled by Monica Crowley, who steps in to become the first person to ever defend It’s A Wonderful Life’s Mr. Potter.
As Dergarabedian goes on to suggest implicitly that calling a major studio’s marketing synergy-based movie franchise “anti-business” might be overreaching, Payne replies that it at least sounds like “hypocrisy” to him. A hypocrisy that may result in the children who see it developing antagonistic attitudes toward business, even as they demand their parents buy them more Lego bricks.
Having pointed out the hypocrisy of a media company using bobbleheads to decry the very things they profit from, Payne returned to complaining about entertainment for Fox.