Huh? Media Matters attacks Fox for 2-sided debate on plus-size Disney princesses

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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Media Matters went after Fox News on Thursday for daring to host a two-sided debate about whether Disney should introduce a plus-size princess to its character lineup.

The advocacy group, dedicated to discrediting non-liberal media, accused Fox of “body shaming” women by simply having a guest on “Fox and Friends” that was opposed to obesity.

But that guest, National Action Against Obesity founder Meme Roth, sat opposite a woman named Emme, a plus-size model and “body image advocate.”

“Fox and Friends” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck moderated the segment without even showing a hint of bias on the issue.

“A Virginia teenager is petitioning Disney,” Hasselbeck began, “for a plus-size princess to appeal to those not fitting the skinny standard, she states. So is it time for a plus-size princess?”

“This 17-year-old girl, who is plus-size herself,” Hasselbeck went on, “what everyone’s hearing from her is that she wants something out there for young girls to look at, and relate to. Is that such a bad thing, Meme?”

Roth replied that cartoons are “usually not proportionate to reality.”

“But the reality is,” Roth continued, “you wouldn’t want someone who’s anorexic, to say, ‘Hey, we want an anorexic princesses.’ And the same is true for obesity. It’s dangerous. It’s unhealthy. And we don’t want to glorify obesity.”


Emme pushed back: “She’s [the teenager] actually saying that she would like to have a princess that’s a little bit more realistic, more normalized in size, so that more kids that represent America will not feel left out in the kingdom.”

“She’s really hitting home that it’s important to have more diverse representations of beauty for kids,” Emme said, “which I’m all for, I’m absolutely all for.”

At that point, Roth became fired up: “Let’s talk through the storyline. If you’re going to do a storyline with obesity, then you need to do Princess Diabetes, Princess Cancer, Princess Fertility Problems.”

“Is plus size obese?” Hasselbeck interjected.

“It’s not,” Emme replied. “That’s a very good question, Elisabeth,” she said, as the conversation continued.

“She’s asking for a plus-size princess!” Roth exclaimed. “Let’s just stop and pause on that request — it’s the same as asking for an anorexic princess.”

The women went on to debate depictions of girls in cartoons and among toy dolls. “It’s not even lifelike,” Roth said. “You shouldn’t be trying to identify with a cartoon character.”

“I beg to differ Meme,”  Emme said. “I believe that the current representation of beauty within our children’s movie and entertainment industry is askew to the thinner side.”

“Is plus size bad?” Hasselbeck interjected again.

“It’s unhealthy!” Roth replied. “If you like cancer and diabetes, if you want fertility problems, then plus size is beautiful,” she said, concluding the segment.

At no point did Hasselbeck take a side in the back-and-forth, but that didn’t stop Media Matters from attacking Fox for airing the segment.

“Presenting Roth as an expert on body-image issues and entertaining her vitriolic remarks is merely a continuation of Fox & Friends‘ complicity with body-shaming,” Media Matters wrote.

That attack gained some traction Thursday as blogs and news sites began reposting Media Matters’ criticism.

The Improper, a pop culture site, used Media Matters’ blog post to attack Hasselbeck herself.

“Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a co-host on the Fox News show, ‘Fox & Friends’ (and a size 2, mind you) slammed high school student Jewel Moore’s suggestion for a plus-size Disney princess to help women with their confidence,” the site wrote.

A Media Matters spokeswoman piled on in a statement to The Improper: “Fox treated Roth’s invective as credible. As she ranted against Emme, a proponent of the petition, an on-screen graphic wondered, ‘Who’s right?’”

Raw Story and Wonkette, both liberal sites, also leaned on Media Matters’ confusing attack in their write-ups about the segment.

The Media Matters spokeswoman did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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