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On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: Fox News

Strictly speaking, this tale doesn't contain any direct reference to schools or teachers. But it does involve children. And brainwashing, communists and Muppets, so surely we can be excused this little detour away from our core constituency. This week's nomination therefore for the Naughty Step is the US's Fox News, Rupert Murdoch's ever-so-slightly-right-wing cable network.

Why, you ask? Last week, anchor Eric Bolling decided to tell his audience of millions that the new Muppets movie, imaginatively called The Muppets, is not, in fact, a lighthearted bit of family fun. Oh no, it is actually a communist plot designed to brainwash children against successful businessmen - all because the baddie is an oil baron with designs on the Muppets' theatre.

"Liberal Hollywood depicting a successful businessman as 'evil' - that's not new," Mr Bolling said with a straight face. "What's actually going on there? Is liberal Hollywood using class warfare to brainwash our kids?" His guest Dan Gainor went further. "They've been doing it for decades. Hollywood - they hate the oil industry, they hate corporate America."

Where were Mr Bolling and Mr Gainor when JR Ewing was besmirching the good reputation of oilmen everywhere in the Eighties? Their humour failure is extraordinary, and it is for that reason they can spend some time thinking about what they've done on the trusty Naughty Step.

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