Who knew that two words could drive the people at CNN this crazy? At the network which has exemplified fake news since Donald Trump's election in 2016, the "resistance" to Trump's preference for saying "Merry Christmas" during this time of year has led network talking heads to repeated denials that there ever has been a war on Christmas, while at the same time trying to open new fronts in that war. We should rename this outfit GNN — the Grinch News Network.
Don Lemon has been a leader of the unhinged charge.
Last week, Lemon, after playing a montage of Barack Obama saying "Merry Christmas" when he was President, ridiculed the idea that there has ever been a war on Christmas, and claimed that Trump's preference for emphasizing the greeting was "a dog whistle to the base." The panel's reaction to his claim indicates that others at the network have caught Trump Derangement Syndrome, which in this case requires strongly denying what the rest of us know has been obvious. For all the pious outrage and ridicule seen in the clip, watch what John Avlon says at the end:
Transcript (bolds are mine throughout this post):
DON LEMON: So Margaret, I means this is a line that we have heard from Donald Trump many, many — why does he get these — This is a dog whistle to the base because no one has ever stopped saying "Merry Christmas."
MARGARET HOOVER: Yeah, except for that if you turn on some of our competitive cable networks, they have entire hours and programming about the war on Christmas. And it is intended directly to go towards that cultural base that feels that other people are taking their America away from them.
That, that was the dog whistle of "Make America Great Again." Great from what, right? The people who are taking Christmas away from you, the people who are taking your (unintelligible) away from you, the people who are taking all your teddy bears away from you, whatever it is. Right, we’re going to make it great, we’re going to bring Christmas back.
And that’s, you know, it’s disingenuous. It’s not true. But there is a kernel of truth, but there, but you have to understand, there is kernel of cultural, to the cultural resentment —
LEMON: There's not much excitement in the Trump base.
LEMON: Lately these days. It used to be, it used to be.
JOHN AVLON: The politics of cultural resentment is all about narrative, right? And when confronted with facts it falls apart, because things feel emotionally true whether literally true. Probably that a bad basis for policy and it's a lousy basis for trying to unite the nation.
LEMON: Yeah. And you two looking like a — like I said, all lit up.
AVLON: Merry Christmas.
HOOVER: We’re trying to unite the nation here. Merry Christmas.
AVLON: Merry Christmas.
HOOVER: Merry Christmas.
AVLON: And happy holidays.
Margaret Hoover's take on "Make America Great Again," dripping with ridicule and contempt — "Teddy bears"? Really? — is either ignorant or disingenuous. The Trump campaign slogan wasn't and isn't about "great from what." It's about aspiring to and hopefully achieving improvement — making it no different from Bill Clinton's occasional use of those same four words during his 1992 presidential campaign and in support of Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign.
The Obama "Merry Christmas" montage (seen here) ignores the fact, as I noted in a Sunday NewsBusters post, that Trump's predecessor never included "Merry Christmas" in any of the official White House "holiday" cards. That post dealt with a Friday episode of Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room which also ridiculed Trump's emphasis on "Merry Christmas."
The claim that there isn't significant resistance to mentioning "Christmas" is completely contradicted by the fact that the establishment press steadfastly and overwhelmingly refuses to describe the period of Christmas-related commerce, which now extends from just after Halloween to the end of the year, as the "Christmas shopping season." But strangely enough (no, not really), they are far more open to mentioning "Christmas" in stories relating to end-of-year corporate layoffs.
Also note that Lemon played the same card that two AP reporters played later in the week, namely the questionable claim that "There's not much excitement in the Trump base."
CNN wouldn't even leave Trump alone when he and his wife Melania attended a Christmas worship service. The network's Dan Merica acted as if the celebrant's homily solely targeted the President:
DAN MERICA, CNN: and then he went to a church service last night with his wife.
I want to mention something that was said at this church service. The homily that was given actually mentioned the fact that words can hurt people, and this is what was said:" Your words can have as much destructive potential as they do healing."
So even on Christmas eve, President Trump was hearing from people who are noting the fact that words have the potential to hurt.
So was everyone else who was there, Dan.
Maybe you ought to tell Margaret "take away our teddy bears" Hoover and the seemingly endless parade of CNN panelists who routinely and recklessly accuse just about anyone who holds a center-right policy position of racism and xenophobia about this homily's admonition.
Finally, though I'm sure I didn't find every such example, Carol Costello, who hosts a show on sister network HLN, decided in a CNN.com column that it was time to take shots at, among other things, a beloved Christmas movie classic, and a timeless Christmas ballet:
Is 'It's a Wonderful Life' sexist?
It seems like America's every cultural moment is under review thanks to Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore and the rest of the men accused of sexual misconduct this year. I can't even watch a Christmas movie like "It's a Wonderful Life" without wondering if it is inherently sexist. And I love that movie.
But seriously, if gorgeous, brilliant Mary had never met her George Bailey, would she have ended up working in a library? Worse than that, would she have been an old maid -- a fate apparently worse than death when the movie was made in 1946?
I am not alone in my musings. Blaine Greteman, who writes for The Week, questions whether "The Nutcracker" is appropriate for young girls. ...
... have we become too sensitive to lyrics, movies and plays?
We can stop there. The answer to Costello's question is "Yes."
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Costello and her colleagues belong in the cave at the top of Mount Crumpet outside of Dr. Seuss's Whoville with the Grinch.
CNN might as well move its headquarters there.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.