GOP Senator's Laughably Inaccurate Attempt to Support His Point With Citations

06/02/2015 12:38 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2016

Recently, Ryan Grim posted a story about Sen. Ron Johnson's (R - Wis.) view that The Lego Movie was anti-capitalist. Rep. Johnson responded rather quickly with a post of his own to double-down, and cited several articles to make his case that a broad spectrum found The Lego Movie to be "an especially grievous slam on business." Touche!

Alas, someone didn't fact-check the fact-check.

Sen. Johnson's first citation, from the Weekly Standard, begins by saying "Never before in history have liberal clichés about the evils and the rapacity of capitalism been combined so ironically as they are in The Lego Movie." (Hint: "ironically"). His second, in the Economist, finds the message to be "libertarian", and says the film "is about learning to break free of the instructions on the box." His third, via the Boston Globe, is an opinion piece, clearly in response to previously existing critiques which found The Lego Movie to be anti-business, whose title says it all: "The Lego Movie may be anti-business, but kids need to hear it" (which, ironically in a different way, may be the piece that most supports his claim that people have widely found the movie to be anti-business). Fourth, he cites an article in what he terms "the liberal Atlantic" (entitled "The Lego Movie: Further Evidence of Will Ferrell's Subversive Genius"), which in fact specifically challenges the sense in an anti-business interpretation of the movie. The final piece, from The New Statesman actually first appeared in the New Republic; and its title, "Why is the Lego Movie Pushing Anti-Capitalist Propaganda?", is clearly meant to be a satirical jab at those who would take the film so seriously - as this quotation illustrates: "But even more cartoonish is a world where full-grown adults devote ostensibly serious news time to decrying a children's movie. And that, more than capitalism itself, is precisely what The Lego Movie is attacking." The real clincher is a few paragraphs later, though: "At the risk of stating the obvious, we should remember that this movie cannot possibly be anti-capitalist." The author goes on to point out the extremely lucrative profits raked in at the box office, as well as other and varied lucrative associated products.

Perhaps it is needless to say, but clearly none of the five stories characterize the movie as "a grievous assault on business". Complete fail on Sen. Johnson's attempt to support a point with citations - I wonder who was looking stuff up for him? But hey - this whole "fact-checking" thing is kind of new for a lot of folks on the right. Kudos for the attempt, in my book.