Mr. Potato Head caused a lot of buzz last week, and Fox News played a big part in that. Over the past week, the plastic toy — and its gender — has been mentioned at least 35 times on Fox News and Fox Business combined.
“The conversations about Mr. Potato Head and trans kids or whatever the culture war narrative is are a huge distraction,” author and CNN columnist Jill Filipovic told CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” Sunday.
Hasbro stirred the pot on Thursday when news of a Mr. Potato Head branding change emerged at an investors meeting. The toy company later tweeted about it, assuring fans that although the brand name is changing, the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head “aren’t going anywhere.”
On Saturday, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld said Mr. Potato Head was getting “neutered” and Sean Hannity invited Geraldo Rivera and Dan Bongino on air to talk about the “controversy and confusion” that was created by Hasbro’s decision to rebrand the toy.
“There’s something wrong when so-called cancel culture gets more attention than the struggles that millions of Americans are facing,” Stelter said.
When Republicans focus on subjects including Mr. Potato Head, The Muppets and cancel culture, they’re addressing what they believe to be left-wing attacks on traditional families and the traditional family structure, Filipovic pointed out. “The Republican Party does not have and frankly doesn’t want to have any legislative solutions to those ‘non-problems.’ Democrats and Progressives are the ones out there proposing actual legislative solutions that would help to solve the problems that families — traditional or not — in the US are facing.”
And CPAC is closely aligned with Fox News, as the topics discussed often mirror what the network chooses to emphasize. “CPAC is basically a live taping of Fox,” Stelter said. In a CPAC speech Friday, Rep. Matt Gaetz referred to Mr. Potato Head as “America’s first transgender doll.”