What Grinch? Fox's Hemmer and Camerota mislead on “War on Christmas” story

Fox News' America's Newsroom aired a segment hyping a story on an elementary school in Boston that had prohibited Christmas-themed gifts from being sold in the school's holiday gift shop, which co-host Bill Hemmer suggested is evidence of “the War on Christmas ... raging again.” However, the school's ban reportedly includes all items that can be associated with a specific religion and is not limited to Christmas.

America's Newsroom says the “War on Christmas” is “underway,” “raging” because of school ban on Christmas items in holiday gift shop

From the November 17 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

HEMMER (co-host): Hey, can you have a holiday fundraiser without the holiday? I mean, you know, can you?

ALISYN CAMEROTA (guest co-host): I think it's just called a fundraiser.

HEMMER: I see. One school is saying no candy canes, no red and green wrapping paper --


HEMMER: -- and absolutely, positively no such thing as Santa Claus. Is the War on Christmas yet raging again? Already?


CAMEROTA: Well, the air is getting a little crisp these days. Thanksgiving, of course, is just around the corner. And that means the War on Christmas is underway.

The latest battle is in Chelmsford, Massachusetts -- that's just north of Boston -- and apparently the gift shop at the local elementary school has some new rules this year. Let's just say the Grinch could have written them. Fox-25 in Boston explains the items you won't find at the gift shop.


CAMEROTA: All right, that was Fox-25's Frank Mallicoat reporting. Red and green tissue paper is a separation of church and state? No Santa Claus?

HEMMER: I can't make sense of it, you know? When I saw my first Christmas lights up before Halloween, I knew the economy was really hurting. I mean, they're telling America, “Buy. We need the money.”

CAMEROTA: Incredible what's going on. We should also note that two parents plan to protest the decision before the school's committee later this month, so we'll keep you posted as to what happens there.

However, the ban reportedly extends to all religious holidays, not just Christmas

WFXT Fox-25: School ban included “all Christmas, Hanukkah and other 'religious items' from being sold.” According to an article on the local Fox affiliate WFXT Fox-25's website, “The Byam Elementary School has decided to ban Santa, candy canes, stockings, and all Christmas, Hanukkah and other 'religious items' from being sold at the annual holiday gift shop.” The report also says that superintendent Donald Yeoman asserted “that the rules were mandated so that no child would be left out.”

Lowell Sun quotes superintendent saying ban has been in place for years. The Lowell Sun, a local newspaper, also noted that the ban included “Hanukkah and other 'religious items' ” and quoted Yeoman as saying the store had “operated under those same rules for a number of years with success and without complaint.”

Boston Globe: “Longstanding” ban is on “religious items.” The Boston Globe reported on November 17 that the school's policy is “longstanding” and bans “religious items.” From the article:

A Chelmsford elementary school's holiday gift fund-raiser is at the center of a town controversy after two residents complained about a longstanding policy banning religious items at the annual event.

Each year, parents purchase small trinkets and donate them to the parent teacher organization at Byam Elementary School. During the day, students buy the items to give as gifts for family members, and the PTO receives the profits, said Donald Yeoman, Chelmsford's superintendent.

In 1982, recognizing a diverse student body of different religions, the PTO and school banned anything "to do with a religion or a religious celebration,'' Yeoman said.