Lou Dobbs, host of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, joined up with FOX News anchors and conservative commentators who have alleged that Christmas has been imperiled by Macy's department stores' use of the phrase “Happy Holidays” in its advertising. On the December 15 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs claimed that Macy's department stores are “exclud[ing] everyone who is celebrating Christmas” by using the phrase “Happy Holidays.” Dobbs then questioned the merit of using “Happy Holidays,” asking CNN business correspondent Christine Romans: "[W]hat other holidays are we celebrating right now?" Finally, Dobbs concluded that Macy's is “wrong” in assuming “Happy Holidays” encompasses Christmas.
From the December 15 Lou Dobbs Tonight:
ROMANS: Lou, Macy's is adamant it's not trying to offend anyone, just the opposite. It's doing just what other businesses do, retail and otherwise. It's trying very hard not to exclude anyone. That's why “Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays” is better.
DOBBS: Well, they've just excluded everyone who is celebrating Christmas, which is, after all, the foundation of the so-called season in which they make most of their profits.
ROMANS: Moving definitely toward not offending anyone.
DOBBS: You know, when you think about it, “Happy Holidays” -- what other holidays are we celebrating right now? We're celebrating Christmas, right?
ROMANS: And they say Hanukkah, Kwanzaa --
ROMANS: -- also the end of Ramadan and a host of other holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year's.
DOBBS: But as we celebrate each one of those -- and each of us in this very diverse society does celebrate -- my Jewish friends say to me “Happy Hanukkah,” I say to them “Merry Christmas,” none of us is offended. I don't understand the reluctance to use Christmas.
ROMANS: They say “Happy Holidays” covers it all.
DOBBS: They do? Well, they're wrong. And merry Christmas. Thanks, Christine.
Dobbs made his comments directly following a report by Romans, in which she quoted a statement by Macy's which conveyed the company's desire to be inclusive of “all religious and ethnic celebrations.”
According to Romans' report:
ROMANS: Macy's says it doesn't ban Christmas -- witness Santa in Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and all of its holiday decorations. But the company says the phrases “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Holidays” embrace all religious and ethnic celebrations that take place in November and December, and “these expressions of goodwill are more reflective of the multicultural society in which we live today.”
Media Matters for America has already noted that Federated Department Stores, Inc. -- the company that owns Macy's -- said in a statement that it allows its stores to make their own decisions regarding holiday advertising.