Grinch-o-Meter Update

Open your gifts on “holiday” morning?

CMI's Grinch-o-meter is spinning again with new stories about people seeking to secularize, trivialize and abolish Christmas. 

Usually you won't find mention of The War on Christmas anywhere on television but Fox News.  Surprise, surprise -- NBC's Nightly News featured the topic on December 20, and wouldn't you know the story itself registers on the Grinch-o-meter?

NBC reporter John Larson used sound bites from an atheist radio host and Barry Lynn, identified as a “Reverend” with “Americans United.”  Lynn is an ordained minister, which the public generally associates with conservatism, so Larson also should have identified him as a far left liberal.  After all, the full name of his organization is “Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.”  Larson only used one sound bite from a pro-Christmas spokesman, Bill Donohue from the Catholic League.

This lack of balance had the Grinch-o-meter swinging wildly toward a 10 until Larson finally started talking about some of the ridiculous measures some people are taking to avoid using the word “Christmas.”  He included Old Navy's advertisement to “open your gifts on holiday morning” and the city of Virginia Beach's decision to rename its Christmas Festival the “McDonald's Holiday Lights at the Beach Brought to You by Verizon Festival.” In the end, the Grinch-o-meter settled down a bit.  Grinch-o-meter rating: 4

Virginia Beach, however, gets a 10 on the Grinch-o-meter for its ridiculous renaming of the Christmas Festival.  Old Navy already made the original Grinch-o-meter scale.  (To see earlier Grinch-o-meter ratings, click here.)

Other new Grinch-o-meter ratings:

•          Planned Parenthood – the abortion provider – sent out email Christmas cards to its supporters titled “Choice on Earth.”  The irony of an abortion provider sending out greetings on a day that celebrates the Birth of Christ is astounding.  Grinch-o-meter rating: 10-plus.

•          Anyone and everyone, especially Sherri Shepherd and Joy Behar of ABC's The View, who have complained about Mike Huckabee's Christmas commercial because it mentions “Christ” and “Christmas.”  Grinch-o-meter rating: 10.

•          The Catholic League reports that Hanukkah is celebrated at Harvard University, but not Christmas. A giant menorah sits in Harvard Yard but there is not a nativity scene in sight. Additionally, Pembroke Lakes Mall in South Florida displays a 5-foot-tall menorah but all nativity scenes have been censored.  Grinch-o-meter ratings for both: 10.

On NBC's Nightly News John Larson said “Tis the season for arguing about how to celebrate Christmas.”  Indeed it is.  And it is the Grinches in the culture who have made Christmas into an argument to begin with.  But in the spirit of the season CMI wishes each and every one of them a Merry Christmas and quotes Tiny Tim, “God Bless Us, Everyone.”

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.