Media outlets have decried pop culture as “corrupting the youth of America” ever since the inception of pop culture. For decades, musicians and filmmakers have been accused of stepping out of their lane, and told that they should stick to creating art. Fox News is only the latest network to comment on politics’ influence on music.

Changing Lyrics

A recent segment on Fox News called out contemporary musicians Green Day and Rage Against The Machine for “stepping out of their lane” and including political messages in their music. This is in response to Green Day changing a lyric in their famous song “American Idiot,” which was first released in 2004.

Source: Youtube/Fox News

The band changed the lyric from “I’m not part of a redneck agenda” to “I’m not part of the MAGA agenda” in their performance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. This immediately caused a stir in the media and political spheres, with Fox News being quick to comment on it.

Fox Business Was Quick To Comment

In a segment on Fox Business, hosts called out Green Day for their use of the term “MAGA agenda,” questioning exactly what is meant by that phrase. They extrapolate the issue to imply that Green Day was referring to Republicans in general.

Source: Youtube/Fox News

They then go on to discuss the different aspects of the contemporary Republican agenda, including issues such as “actually secure borders,” a “better economy,” and “lower crime.” Of course, none of these issues are referred to in “American Idiot,” but the hosts on Fox took exception to the use of the phrase “MAGA” in replacement of “redneck.”

Musicians Should Stay Out of Politics

The segment then goes on to imply that Green Day – and all musicians, by extension – were stepping out of their sphere of influence by commenting on politics. One of the hosts even went so far as to say, “Stick to what you’re good at. You’re not a political analyst. You’re probably not really well read on the issues that Americans really care about.”

Source: Wikimedia/Sven-Sebastian Sajak (Sven0705)

This bold statement immediately caused a stir online. Tom Morello, the lead singer of the band Rage Against The Machine, was quick to comment on the clip on X, formerly Twitter, stating, “Is that so?”. This was in response to a comment from one of the anchors stating that the MAGA lyric was calling to “rage against the machine.”

Green Day…Has Always Been Political

Morello, a political science graduate from Harvard University, is not the only person to respond to the Fox statement with derision. “American Idiot” came out nearly twenty years ago and was written in response to 9/11 and Bush’s policies at the time. In that way, the song and Green Day have always been political.

Source: Twitter/X/tmorello

More than that, though, bands like Green Day and Rise Against the Machine have always been heavily involved in politics. Morello has been arrested for civil disobedience many times before, and came from a family that was heavily anti-establishment from the get-go.

A Rebel From the Beginning

Morello was raised by a father who was originally a Mau Mau rebel in Kenya, and a mother who founded an organization supporting free speech in music. This was in response to the music censorship movement that was spearheaded by Tipper Gore in the 1990’s.

Source: Wikimedia/Penner

Though “Rage Against the Machine” formally broke up in 2001, the band has gotten together various different times over the years since then to play in different concerts around the world. Morello has also continued to be involved in contemporary issues, including but not limited to politics.

Not the First Political Green Day Move

Likewise, Green Day has been heavily involved in political issues both in their music and as individuals. The lyric change on New Year’s Eve is not the first time that the group has criticized Trump and his political movement, and it will likely not be the last.

Source: Wikimedia/punxie89

Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong has even gone so far as to say “F*** Trump” ahead of performing “American Idiot” in concert, and when asked about it, has stated that he does it because he wants people to feel validated if that’s how they believe. It’s a popular move, he says, particularly in the south where more liberal ideologies might be the minority.

Elon Musk Takes to the Twittersphere

Fox was not the only big name to comment on the controversial lyric change. Elon Musk took to his platform on X/Twitter to comment, “Green Day goes from raging against the machine to milquetoastedly raging for it.”

Source: Twitter/X/elonmusk

Of course, this comment assumes that Green Day has only ever been anti-establishment. Many of their more political songs were written at a time where the political agenda leaned towards a conservative slant, and Billie Joe Armstrong has always been liberal. The fact that he continues to lean on his liberal beliefs in a time where the political establishment aligns with them doesn’t make him a hypocrite, it makes him consistent.

All Art Is Political

At the end of the day, whether the mainstream media wants to acknowledge it or not, almost all art is political in one way, shape, or form. Movies and music and novels all lean on different issues to create worlds that we want to escape into, and this is no exception. Green Day using their music to slam conservatives is not new; it’s not the first time that they’ve done it, and it very likely will not be the last.

Source: Wikimedia/Scott Penner

While it’s nice to think about a world where individuals can consume different media without being influenced by the creators beliefs, it simply isn’t how the world works. Political, moral, and personal beliefs influence the art that creators make, and no amount of “raging” from the media or businessmen will change that.