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Sunday, December 17, 2006
Keeping the 'War on Christmas' Alive
Topic: Media Research Center

Via Tim Graham at NewsBusters, we learn that the Media Research Center's Culture & Media Institute is trying to keep the "War on Christmas" flame alive. In a CMI article, Kristen Fyfe asks why people think there is a "war on Christmas": "Because, Tiny Tim, there is." She adds: "The war on Christmas is not a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians, as the liberal media would have you believe."

This largely ignores that conservative groups (and Fox News) have worked hard over the past couple of years into blowing up unrelated, isolated incidents into a "war on Christmas." For instance, as we've detailed, for the last two holiday seasons, WorldNetDaily simply ran nearly verbatim (and occasionally factually challenged) press releases from conservative legal groups like Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund promoting their "war on Christmas" legal actions without even bothering to present the other side.

Fyfe touches on this, writing: "Led by Christian organizations like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Catholic League, Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund, the push back against Politically Correct Christmas is gaining momentum." But Fyfe erroneously calls this a "grassroots movement"; in fact, these are groups that reel in millions of dollars in donations each year and have public-relations staffs whose job it is to promote their cause -- hardly "grassroots."

We see that fund-raising component in Fyfe's article by her copious use of the ACLU bogeyman; she claims that the "war" is "[l]ed predominantly by the ACLU (they’ll deny it of course, but ask the folks in Wilson County, Tennessee who are currently in court fighting the ACLU over – among other charges -- a kindergarten class singing two Christmas carols)." Indeed, "ACLU" appears eight times in her article.

Along with her copious ACLU references, Fyfe has no problem ascribing the most negative spin to those who dare to say something other than "Merry Christmas." She writes, "It seemed to culminate last year with Wal-Mart’s decision to forbid its employees to greet customers with 'Merry Christmas' " as if it were part of that purported ACLU plot -- and as if no greeting was offered at all. As the Chicago Tribune points out, the truth is much less nefarious: Wal-Mart simply tried out "Happy Holidays" and caved under the boycott threats of those, er, "grassroots" groups.

The "war on Christmas" may or may not be, in Fyfe's words, "a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians," but it is most definitely their creation -- and Fyfe should honestly acknowledge that.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 17, 2006 11:54 AM EST

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