A short CNN cartoon about how the two major US parties are unwilling to find middle ground has prompted an avalanche of mockery towards the network, for what many said was a gross oversimplification of American politics.

The video was released on Wednesday in the aftermath of the first US presidential debate, and featured the mascots of the Republican and Democratic parties – an elephant a donkey – sitting wide apart on a park bench. Next entered the character of ‘Elephonkey,’ an amalgam of the two mascots, representing the middle ground between US conservatives and liberals.

“Any room in the middle?” the strange creature asked of the metaphorical Republican and Democrat. “No,” they reply, to its disappointment, signifying the supposed polarization of US politics.

Any room in the middle?

CNN’s foray into animation was instantly bombarded with negative comments. Many Twitter users called the cartoon’s representation of politics “idiotic, naive and misleading” and “a fine depiction of ‘both-siderism’” for appearing to simplify partisan ideological differences.

This is really idiotic, naïve and misleading.

Some commenters derided the video for its general framing, calling the Democrats and the GOP “America’s center right and far right parties.”“At least they correctly portray centrists as the hideous freaks they are,” quipped former The Young Turks commenter Hasan Piker.

Maybe once we get the “middle” back where it belongs….

However, some Democratic supporters had a different problem with the cartoon, saying they believed presidential candidate Joe Biden actually does occupy the middle ground.

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