Any regular watcher of this broadcast knows we keep one eye trained on our peers throughout the media landscape.
And, of course, ‘tis the season for the annual Fox News War on Christmas–baseless segment after segment, kick-starting the day after Thanksgiving and running straight through Christmas morn.
We’ve chewed on the absurdity of the narrative (see our graphic treatment, “The Nog of War”) in “Top Lines” segments last week and again yesterday; with guests like Toure and Lili Gil Valletta and Jon Capehart and Ana Marie Cox; and in one of Martin’s Clear the Airs.
We even welcomed on a guest who had been used by Fox to further their invented war - Tom Brejcha of the Thomas Moore Society - only to have him admit right off the top that there is no such thing as a War on Christmas.
It was a different role than Mr. Brejcha had played as guest to Bill O’Reilly, self-proclaimed Kris Kringle in this Christmas bazaar, with "Fox and Friends," among others, playing loyal elves in his predictable workshop.
And last night, as Jon Stewart was fileting the “Fair and Balanced” un-war and offering counsel to his “friend” Bill O’Reilly, Santa seemed to slip up.
The segment began as it often does, with O’Reilly claiming the mantle of savior of traditional values. Then he insisted, “I don’t want to do this” before doing it for the next seven minutes.
Next he called upon Father Jonathan Morris, a Fox News contributor who had the audacity to tell the “Fox and Friends” Sunday crew that they seemed unnecessarily “angry” about the so-called War on Christmas.
The naughty assertion earned Father Morris a trip to Santa’s wonderland, where O’Reilly ho-ho-hoed about his “campaign” for several minutes:
“It isn’t silly,” he insisted, and with a glance to the camera, “It’s very deadly serious.”
“Who’s speaking out beside me?” he whined. “My charge here is to keep this country sane.”
But before dismissing viewers to buy Bill O’Reilly-themed Christmas gifts, Saint Nick chided Father Morris to take bolder action against the War on Christmas. Here’s the pep talk, in which O’Reilly cited a far more real war--the war against gay rights--where public opinion has changed.
“I’m not gonna be an anti-gay marriage warrior,” O’Reilly began. “But if you believe, and other Christian religions–and there’s a lot of them--that gay marriage is wrong, then you have to get up there and make just as strong an argument, and you haven’t, and that’s why public opinion is turning against, in favor of gay marriage.”
And O’Reilly’s conclusion:
“You’re losing these wars, father.”
Dear Santa O’Reilly…
This year, all we want for Christmas is for you to listen to yourself.
You have failed to deliver a “strong argument” in your war on Christmas campaign.
“Public opinion” has turned against you.
“You’re losing these wars.”
The Martin Bashir Show
See O'Reilly vs. Stewart in a war over the War on Christmas in Tuesday's Top Lines below: