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Not Just Big Bird: 6 Examples of the Right's War on Beloved Children's Characters

Voters will decide whether or not Romney gets to fire Big Bird, but this is certainly not the first time right-wingers have painted a target on a fictional character.

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The only solution, Chivers noted, is for the right to cough up some counter-propaganda, “Putting the Fun in Hedge Funds” or something else. But Glenn Beck already had that idea, and it didn't seem to get anywhere...

4. SpongeBob Squarepants has a radical green agenda!

That's right, folks, SpongeBob is the reason your kids might be aware of this little problem called climate change. Don't believe me? Just ask Glenn Beck's site, the Blaze, which warns that the U.S. Department of Education is “indoctrinating children” with the idea that “man-made global warming” is a fact, using free books featuring the Nickelodeon character.

Fox & Friends got in on the SpongeBob bashing with a scary on-screen ticker declaring “SpongeBob's Bias." Gretchen Carlson complained that SpongeBob didn't show kids that global warming was “a disputed fact,” and Steve Doocy claimed that parents were uncomfortable with the “over-the-top green agenda."

5. G.I. Joe wants you to be part of a one-world-government nightmare!

Glenn Beck isn't only angry at Glee and SpongeBob. Nope, he's angry about the way the recent G.I Joe movie made the former military hero, star of a kids' cartoon and a heck of a lot of toys, into a “casualty in the war on the American way.”

Seriously.

You see, in the new movie, Joe is out of the Army, and according to Beck, “Hollywood now has him answering to some bullcrap international force like the U.N. We all know that the U.N. is a toothless bunch of pansies. They don't deserve somebody like Joe, even the little plastic version.” He followed that up with, “I believe some are trying to indoctrinate our kids into hating their own country, turning us into some one-world-government nightmare; hating America, turning it into a dirty word."

For Beck, G.I. Joe is a “symbol of national pride,” just like Superman, and you don't mess with those. (Nobody's told him that Superman was created by a couple of Jewish immigrants, right?)

6. Dora the Explorer is an undocumented immigrant!

This one's a bit disturbing, as my colleague Julianne Escobedo Shepherd pointed out earlier this year. Right-wingers took to posting a mugshot of cartoon character Dora, a young Latina, that had been doctored to give her a black eye and busted lip. The “charges” against her? "Illegal Border Crossing Resisting Arrest." (Oh, and the number they gave her? 666 666 666. Um.)

The images came up after Arizona's “Papers, Please” law was passed, and wound up in the middle of the debate over the issue—in part because Dora is bilingual and travels the world, apparently. Still, it's bad enough that a children's cartoon character became a target for the Right, but did they really have to beat her up, too? Sure, she's not real, but the fact that the response right-wingers have to an immigrant child is to want to see her with a black eye and bleeding? 

Sarah Jaffe is a staff writer at In These Times and the co-host of Dissent magazine's "Belabored" podcast. Her writings on labor, social movements, gender, media and student debt have been published in The Atlantic, The Nation, The American Prospect, AlterNet and many other publications, and she is a regular commentator for radio and television. You can follow her on Twitter: @sarahljaffe.