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O’Reilly Targets Massachusetts School for “War On Christmas” 2009

Reported by Alex - November 18, 2009 -

They can’t even wait until Thanksgiving is over. “Patriots” that they are, Fox News have leapfrogged right over our national holiday, which is still a week away, in favour of an early Christmas holiday present of faux outrage for their howling hordes. Hear ye, hear ye, all ye "Christian" Crusaders! Gird your loins and pick up your pitchforks, for duty calls: we go to do battle with the Principal and PTO of Byam Elementary School in the godless librul state of Massachusetts. The War to “Save” Christmas is on!

The first battles of the War On Christmas, 2009, took place on November 17th, when Fox News dedicated not one, but two spots to the Horror in the Gift Room at Byam Elementary School in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. As my Newshound sister Priscilla reported earlier today, the first shots were fired from America’s Newsroom, where co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Alison Camerota claimed that the WoC is “raging” in the Boston-area school because of the banning of Christmas items from the school Gift Room, a four-day fundraising activity has been held during the holiday season for decades.

Hemmer and Camerota reported with incredulity and some tsk-ing and left it at that. But this is a crime made for prime time. So enter General O’Reilly, accompanied by Lis Wiehl and Kimberly Guilfoyle, to whip the troops up to the appropriate level of outrage.

Guilfoyle got the ball rolling with “you can’t have Christmas items or religious items at the holiday Christmas fair.” Note that although the school has clearly called this fundraiser a “Gift Room”, Bildo and the Bobble-heads insisted on calling it a “Christmas fair” (O’Reilly: “Christmas-slash-Holiday Fair or whatever they call it”), which then allowed them to say things like “taking the Christ out of Christmas” (Guilfoyle), “It’s a Christmas fair, a gift-giving fair to honor Christmas, but you can’t sell Christmas stuff” and “Who wants to ban selling Christmas stuff at a Christmas fair?” (O’Reilly). Throughout the segment all three insisted on calling the issue a “ban on Christmas”. (What about Hanukkah? Kwanzaa? Solstice?)

Having established that this is a “Christmas” fair (it isn’t) which doesn’t allow “Christmas” gifts (no gifts or decorations representing ANY religion are allowed), the conversation turned to legal issues -- no, not the issue of separation of church and state, but the far tastier topic of whether the ACLU might have brought a lawsuit against the school district if they’d allowed religiously-themed items to be sold, an idea which Wiehl (why do all these blondes on Fox look alike?) in particular seemed to find exciting.

Needless to say, Bildo and the Bobbleheads omitted to give both sides of the story. In this case, the other side of the story is contained in a letter by the PTO board which was published very early on Tuesday morning - early enough for both Amercia's Newsroom and Bildo to have gotten hold of it. The letter explains that the policy on the Gift Room goes back decades; that no new participants came forward when suggestions and volunteers were sought during the past ten weeks; and that when the dissenting parents surfaced at the eleventh hour demanding changes, they were promised that they would be implemented next year. But you won’t hear that in the “No Spin Zone”, no sirree. Why ruin a good pep rally with facts?

But the worst aspect of this segment by far was the deliberate way that O’Reilly identified and targeted the school in general and the principal (“a nut”) in particular, ensuring that his “Christian” soldiers would have all the information they needed to attack at will. He gave the name of the school, spelling it out to be sure everyone got it right; the town; the state; and the Principle’s first and last name, while the camera lingered for a good 9 seconds (an eternity in TV land) on a sign giving the street address of the school district office. If he had issued a fatwa declaring jihad against them it couldn’t have been any clearer. Onward, “Christian” Teabaggers!

The irony is that O’Reilly calls the move by the school “fascist” when he, in fact, is the one who has repeatedly used intimidation, directly or by proxy, to try to force his religious, social and political agenda on others who have exercised their right to self-determination within the bounds of the law. (For some examples see here, here, here and here). The discussion here seems to indicate that the community is quite capable of dealing with its own issues without outside interference from the arrogant and self-glorifying O’Reilly and his sheep in wolves’ clothing.

O'Reilly finished with a “promise” for the principal (who wisely refused to speak with anyone from Fox – so how does Bildo conclude that she’s a “nut”?) and a teaser for the troops: "I have to tell you, madam, that you'll appear on this program one way or the other ... because we're not letting it go.” Ooooooh, ooooooh, brave Bildo is sending his stalker, Jessie the Court Jester, to Chelmsford. Let’s hope the principal takes our advice and replies to every single question he asks with “Andrea Mackris.”

H/T Media Matters

(oops!: Ellen has reminded me that Bildo kicked off his annual Christmas Crusade on November 5th with an attack on the Governor of Kentucky for renaming the State Christmas tree the "Holiday Tree".)

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Bildo and the Bobbleheads on the "War on Christmas"