For the second straight year, The O'Reilly Factor has devoted more than three times as much airtime to the manufactured “War on Christmas” than to actual military conflicts.
O'Reilly Factor Spent Much More Time On The Phony “War On Christmas” Than Actual Wars
O'Reilly Again Covered The “War On Christmas” More Than Three Times As Much As Actual Conflicts In Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, And Gaza. From December 1 through 18, The O'Reilly Factor spent more than 55 minutes on the “War on Christmas” but only about 17 minutes covering military conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Gaza.
In 2011, O'Reilly Covered The “War On Christmas” More Than Three Times As Much As The Actual Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan. From December 1, 2011, through December 21, 2011, The O'Reilly Factor devoted nearly 42 minutes to covering the “War on Christmas,” compared to approximately 13 and a half minutes covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. [Media Matters, 12/22/11]
It's Not Just O'Reilly: Fox's “War On Christmas” Focus Continued On-Air And Online In 2012
Fox's Carlson: “We're Not Nuts, Are We? There Is A War On Christmas.” Reporting (for the second consecutive year) on Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee's evolving plans for that state's “holiday tree” lighting ceremony, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson interviewed Rhode Island State Rep. Doreen Costa about the supposed “controversy.” From the December 18 edition of Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: Now, a lot of people, for whatever reason, will look at this interview today and they'll say, “Gretchen Carlson and Doreen Costa are nuts, ok? They're so nuts because they think that there's this made up War on Christmas.” We're not nuts, are we? There is a War on Christmas. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/28/12]
Fox Nation Website Has Posted At Least 20 “War On Christmas” Stories In The Past Month. Fox News' Fox Nation website has posted at least 20 stories tagged as part of the “War on Christmas” since the middle of November. Headlines include “Seniors Outraged Over Christmas Tree Ban,” “Militant Secularists Lose Battle to Oust Nativity Scene,” and “Festivus Pole Added to Nativity Scene.” [FoxNation.com, accessed 12/18/12]
Fox's Huddy Refers To Concerns Over Separation Of Church And State As “All That Business.” Reporting on a public elementary school's decision to remove a nativity scene as part of their holiday decorations, Fox & Friends Saturday co-host Juliet Huddy explained that a Board of Education member had visited to school to talk about “separating church and state -- all that business.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/1/12]
Not Everyone At Fox Is On Board With The “War On Christmas”
Fox's John Stossel To O'Reilly “I Can't Believe You're Wasting Time On” The War On Christmas. During a December appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, Fox host John Stossel told O'Reilly that with all of the “real problems” in the country, “I can't believe you're wasting time” covering the War on Christmas. He added, “But then, I look at your ratings and I feel ridiculous.” From the December 11 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:
STOSSEL: I want to quibble with your poll question, “Is your coverage accurate or overblown?” I'd say it's accurate and overblown.
This war on Christmas, it's not a war. “Newsweek” was right. Maybe, the only thing they're right about.
O'REILLY: You can call it an assault. You can call it anything you want. But think back, Stossel, six years ago, when giant department store chains were ordering their employees not to say, “Merry Christmas,” all right.
That stopped, as “Newsweek” points out. And it puts me in a stupid hat and uses a bad picture. We know their game, OK. That stopped. And the reason it stopped is because of us, Stossel, us. All right?
STOSSEL: OK. So, you won the war.
O'REILLY: Thank you.
STOSSEL: “Newsweek” is right about that.
STOSSEL: We have real problems in this country. We're going broke. I can't believe you're wasting time on this. But then, I look at your ratings and I feel ridiculous.
O'REILLY: We cover the real problems as well. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. The culture war is affecting every child in this nation, Stossel. That's enormous. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/11/12]
Fox Business Network's Don Imus: “There's No War On Christmas ... It's Absurd.” During an interview with Fox Business host Stuart Varney, Imus in the Morning host Don Imus dismissed the idea of a “War on Christmas” as “absurd.” [Fox Business, Imus in the Morning,12/11/12]
We reviewed Nexis transcripts of The O'Reilly Factor from December 1 through 18 for any references to military conflicts or military action in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Gaza, or the “War on Christmas.” We counted entire segments focused on these topics, mentions of these topics within segments on other topics, and teasers of segments related to these topics -- even if they did not include the words “Iraq,” “Afghanistan,” “Syria,” “Libya,” “Benghazi,” or “Gaza,” or “War on Christmas.”
We used the following search: show (O'Reilly) and (Iraq! or Afghan! or Syria! or Libya! or Benghazi or Gaza or war or holidays or Christmas or military or troops or soldier! or vet!). We also searched for mentions of the military-related charities that O'Reilly promotes on his website; for example, we included references to the Wounded Warrior Project.
*Note: The chart in this item has been revised.