Friday, December 23, 2005

"War on Christmas" exposed by New Yorker; O'Reilly annoyed

Hendrik Hertzberg writes of the bogus "War on Christmas" being pushed by Fox News in The New Yorker:
The War on Christmas is a little like Santa Claus, in that it (a) comes to us from the sky, beamed down by the satellites of cable news, and (b) does not, in the boringly empirical sense, exist.
He goes on to note that
Today’s Christmas Pentagon is the Fox News Channel, which during a recent five-day period carried no fewer than fifty-eight different segments about the ongoing struggle, some of them labelled “Christmas under attack.”
and discusses John Gibson's book and Bill O'Reilly's role as "Patton." Near the end, he notes:
In this war, no weapons of Christmas destruction have been found—just a few caches of linguistic oversensitivity and commercial caution. Christmas remains robust: even Gibson says in his book that in America Christmas celebrators (ninety-six per cent) outnumber Christians (eighty-four per cent). But the “Happy Holidays” contagion has probably spread too far to be wiped out.
O'Reilly's response on December 20:
O'REILLY: Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." New Yorker magazine joins our hall of shame. We are recommending readers and sponsors avoid the publication. The reason: that magazine allows writer Hendrik Hertzberg to print dishonest propaganda fed to him by left-wing smear sites. As I previously stated, any publication or news operation that does that will be listed on as
not worthy of your attention or advertising dollars. The spin and the propaganda stop here. The New Yorker magazine should be ashamed and is absolutely ridiculous. And one note to Mr. Hertzberg: You might want to rethink your practice of character assassination, sir. Just looking out for you.
And Fox's John Gibson, author of The War on Christmas, got into a shouting match with Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, with Gibson threatening to sue Boston for pointing out O'Reilly's falsehood about green and red clothing being prohibited by Plano, Texas schools. As it turns out, there were some prohibitions about party items and gifts in Plano schools which included such things as paper plate color, which led to a lawsuit; that ban was revoked and the guidelines made more sensible--e.g., students could give each other religious-themed gifts, but teachers (who are acting in an official capacity and represent the state) cannot give religious-themed gifts to students.

O'Reilly has retracted his comment about a ban on red and green clothing.

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