Snow White And The Rightwing Outrage Cycle: Fox News’ Latest Fixation Lives At Disneyland

Anaheim, CA - April 30: Snow White's Enchanted Wish, the revamped ride that replaced Snow White's Scary Adventures, at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, April 30, 2021. The resort"u2019s parks have been closed fo... Anaheim, CA - April 30: Snow White's Enchanted Wish, the revamped ride that replaced Snow White's Scary Adventures, at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, April 30, 2021. The resort"u2019s parks have been closed for 412 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images) MORE LESS
May 4, 2021 2:34 p.m.

Last week, it was a totally fabricated red meat ban in President Joe Biden’s climate plan. And an imagined scandal centered on Vice President Kamala Harris’ children’s book. 

But outrage fuel burns hot and fast, and the rightwing media ecosystem needs a lot of it to operate. So, naturally, it cast about for a new victim of our supposedly pernicious “cancel culture” to steam about. 

On Monday morning, Fox News settled on Snow White. Or, more specifically, the new Snow White ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  

On Friday, two editors at SF Gate, formerly the online home for the San Francisco Chronicle and now its own California news site, wrote a largely positive review of Disney’s newly revamped ride. The ride, now dubbed “Snow White’s Enchanted Wish” — apparently the sight of weeping children detraining from it’s darker predecessor, “Snow White’s Scary Adventures,” wore thin — opened Friday for the first time.

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The review applauded the ride’s beefed up technological effects and artistic beauty, calling it in the first sentence “really good.” The writers include one critique eight paragraphs down: that the new ride, no longer ending on the uplifting note of the evil queen’s screams as she plummets to her death, uses the prince’s kiss of a sleeping Snow White as the emotional climax.

“A kiss he gives to her without her consent, while she’s asleep, which cannot possibly be true love if only one person knows it’s happening,” the review reads. “Haven’t we already agreed that consent in early Disney movies is a major issue? That teaching kids that kissing, when it hasn’t been established if both parties are willing to engage, is not OK?”

And that’s about it. While applauding the beautiful and well-executed ride, the writers spend about a paragraph and a half musing over why Disney couldn’t have circumvented that scene with potentially dangerous lessons for the children watching.

That was plenty for Fox though. The morning show “Fox and Friends” covered the faux outrage early on Monday, even using it as part of an interview with Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). 

“So now they’re trying to cancel Snow White. Your thoughts?” “Fox and Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt asked Kennedy.

“You know, sometimes I think we are so screwed,” Kennedy said, laughing. “I don’t know where these jackaloons come up with this stuff. I don’t mean to be mean. I’ll try to be nicer if they try to be saner and I shouldn’t discourage it, I guess, because so many of my Democratic friends believe in it, but it’s just such utter nonsense.”

“If you want to make a fool of yourself you can, you’re free to do it,” he said, warning with little self awareness that fixation on issues like these is “about as popular with the American people as head lice.”

Fox News and Fox Business Network covered the story multiple times throughout Monday. 

By noon, the New York Post had a matching article up called “Disneyland’s Snow White ride attacked for ‘kiss without her consent.’” It’s framed solely on the SF Gate review, and features a smattering of outraged reactions from random Twitter users — from such prominent accounts as “someone named Alynn” — to a Fox Business online write-up. The Fox story too frames the ride as engendering backlash, though only cites the one review. 

And as it always does — with beef, with children’s books, with Disney princesses — this kind of ginned up rightwing outrage soon made its way to Twitter accounts of prominent Republican lawmakers. 

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