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Monday, December 12, 2005
NewsBusters' War on Olbermann
Topic: Media Research Center
A Dec. 12 NewsBusters post by Mark Koldys runs to the defense of Bill O'Reilly from that meanie Keith Olbermann, claiming that Olbermann has distorted facts in attacking O'Reilly. But Koldys forwards his own distortions in at least one instance here.

Koldys -- who runs his own blog, Johnny Dollar's Place, dedicated to defending Fox News -- responded to Olbermann's tweaking of O'Reilly because the Fox News online store was selling "holiday" ornaments with "The O'Reilly Factor" logo rather than "Christmas" ornaments by stating: Bill O'Reilly doesn't run the Fox news online store; he doesn't sell the items; he doesn't write the descriptions. He has his own online store, proudly labeled a 'Christmas store."'

But Olbermann wasn't talking about O'Reilly's site, he was talking about the Fox News site. Koldys ignores the larger point, which is that Fox News -- where its anchors led by O'Reilly have been breathlessly hyping a so-called "war on Christmas" and demanding that retailers say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays" -- was itself selling "holiday" ornaments instead of "Christmas" ornaments.

Koldys also plays the same game of not fully quoting people that he accuses Olbermann of. He quotes Olbermann as discussing "This whole attack on Christmas nonsense that he made up, some sort of fantasy in which the liberals are coming to your town to force you and your family to not call it Christmas anymore." Koldys adds: "Did Mr. O'Reilly ever claim liberals were going to force people not to use the word "Christmas"? No."

But Koldys doesn't quote what Olbermann says immediately after that: "The fantasy that we can‘t say Merry Christmas, but you can only say Happy Holidays?" This is the illusion that O'Reilly is in fact promoting, whether Koldys wants to admit it or not.

Koldys also strangely asserts that the "war on Christmas" is not a creation of O'Reilly because "on the MSNBC website, one can find Joe Scarborough railing against "PC police" who 'create new words for Christmas trees', and promoting stories about 'yet another chapter in the war on Christmas.'" Olbermann never claimed that O'Reilly had exclusive rights to the "war on Christmas," or that others weren't hyping the same thing. But O'Reilly is the highest-profile promoter of it, which makes him a "creator" in the minds of many.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EST

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