Anyone who has been out in the real world during current and previous Christmas shopping seasons knows that there has been an informal (and occasionally formal) proscription against stores wishing customers a "Merry Christmas" and promoting Christmas in their ads and promotions. On Friday, Wolf Blitzer's CNN panel tried to pretend that the hostility towards "Merry Christmas" has never existed, as they mocked a video which exaggerated its thanks to President Donald Trump for "allowing us to say merry Christmas."
Trump has made his preference for "Merry Christmas" very clear. The Trumps' 2017 Christmas card, as would be expected, has a "Merry Christmas" greeting. It's obviously not Trump's fault that the video in question incorrectly gave him credit for somehow "allowing" people to say "Merry Christmas" again.
By contrast, though the CNN panel referred to a video montage of predecessor Barack Obama saying "Merry Christmas" several times which was shown earlier in the week, Barack Obama and his administration generally avoided the "Merry Christmas" greeting in official communications, as seen in Christmas cards from 2016 ("Happy Holidays" and "holiday season"), 2015 ("warmest wishes for health and happiness this holiday season"), 2014 ("spirit of the holidays"), 2013 ("joy of the holidays"), 2012 ("joy of the holidays"), 2011 ("may your holidays shine"), 2010 ("may your holidays be filled"), and 2009 ("Season's Greetings" and "a joyous holiday season").
Readers should keep this in mind while watching the CNN Friday afternoon video segment below, as the panel tried to pretend that there's never been any reluctance to mention Christmas:
Transcript (bolds are mine throughout the remainder of this post):
WOLF BLITZER: David, let me ask you this. There's a pro-Trump non-profit associated with a super PAC which is called America First Priorities (actually, it's America First Policies. — Ed.). They've just released an advertisement reflecting on the President’s first year in office. The ad touts the tax plan, other accomplishments. Let me play another clip from this ad. Listen to this.
(go to Super PAC ad)
VETERAN: As veterans, thank you for reminding us to stand for our national anthem.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you, President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED LITTLE GIRL: Thank you, President Trump, for letting us say "Merry Christmas" again.
(return to studio)
BLITZER: "Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to say 'Merry Christmas.'" As far as I know, people have been saying merry Christmas for a long time.
DAVID SWERDICK: Yeah, Merry Christmas, Wolf. Merry Christmas, Rebecca. Merry Christmas, Jeffrey. You can already say "Merry Christmas."
REBECCA BERG: Don’t you feel liberated?
DAVID SWERDICK: Yeah, I do. Like thank you, President Trump. Look, it’s a bit of a ridiculous ad. At the same time, this for the 35 percent of Americans that still support President Trump, this is the value add. (The December 22 Rasmussen poll had Trump's approval rating at 44 percent. — Ed.) A President Bush could have passed a tax cut. A President Rubio could have appointed a Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch. But this culture war, this sort of ax grinding is what people got out of President Trump, and they’re sort of touting it now as they end the year.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, go ahead.
JEFFREY TOOBIN: I just wanted to say that finally, you know, the Obama prohibition on "Merry Christmas" has been overturned, and I for one am grateful for that.
BLITZER: Although we have a lot of clips of former President Obama actually saying those words, "Merry Christmas."
TOOBIN: It’s true. It’s true. Just a little Christmas cheer here, you know.
BLITZER: What do you think, Rebecca?
BERG: I would agree it is a little bit ridiculous, but, you know, can we also say Happy Chrismica? I think that's also appropriate —
BLITZER: You can say "Merry Christmas." As far as I know, this is a free country. We have freedom of speech. You can say all of the above, and a lot more. We’ll take a quick break. Much more right after this.
Trump backers aren't claiming that "Merry Christmas" was banned speech. "Merry Christmas" was discouraged as too sectarian, as not "inclusive" enough.
What the CNN panel also didn't mention, because it's utterly embarrassing, is that the press is the group that is the most allergic to the word "Christmas."
For 13 years, I've tracked media mentions of "Christmas shopping season" and "holiday shopping season" on Google News. The "Christmas" results have come in as low as 7.0 percent in 2015, the last Christmas season during the Obama era (in the American psyche, 2008 and 2016 belong to Obama and Trump, respectively, because they were in their respective presidential transition periods), and only as high as last year's 16.7 percent:
But when it comes to reporting on corporate layoffs occurring near the end of the year, the press has had a habit of suddenly remembering that it's Christmastime. In that regard, 2017 was no different than any of the previous 12 years I've tracked:
This year, consistent with previous years, Christmas was mentioned in reporting on layoffs more than three times as often (42.0 percent compared to 13.1 percent) than it was in connection with shopping.
As for the supposedly non-existent war on Christmas, Victoria Taft at Independent Journal Review, who also noticed that CNN's Don Lemon claimed earlier in the week that Trump's "Merry Christmas" greetings represent "a dog whistle to the base because no one has ever stopped using Merry Christmas," believes the good guys have won the war on Christmas, but made the following observations about the press's current outlook which tie directly into the attitudes seen in the video above (link is in original)
.... the (original) war to send “Christmas” down the memory hole is now being recast as “War on Christmas? What war on Christmas?”
Why? Donald Trump.
... the Chicago Tribune reports that another study shows that “Merry Christmas” is now a political declaration ...
... Considering this study and the recent casting of “Jingle Bells” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” as racist and sexist, respectively, the War on Christmas is apparently raging on.
Or, despite, the pretense, the press would prefer to see a renewed hostility towards the greeting which supports the true reason for the season.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.