- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CREATOR-FREE ZONE

Broadcasters are a righteously secular bunch, in a very big way. A new analysis by the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute reveals that networks are leaving Christ out of Christmas. In the 2008 and 2009 Christmas seasons, 527 stories about Christmas aired on network news. Only seven of those stories, however, mentioned God or the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas is supposed to bring tidings of great joy. But if journalists don’t mention the true meaning of the holiday, that joy gets ignored. Nearly 80 percent of Americans are Christian, so maybe the networks could look at their collapsing ratings and do a better job this holiday,” Dan Gainor, vice president for business and culture, tells Inside the Beltway. “Apparently, many in the media think ‘Silent Night’ should apply to their coverage of God during Christmastime.”

The study found that 98.7 percent of Christmas coverage on ABC’s “World News,” “CBS Evening News” and “NBC Nightly News” highlighted the impact on the economy, weather, travel, the Senate health care bill, terrorism and other faith-free aspects. Twenty-two percent of the total coverage was devoted to the “Christmas Day Underwear Bomber,” 20 percent to holiday consumerism. The networks only managed to mention “God,” “Jesus” or “Christ” in 19 sentences.

“The Culture and Media Institute recommends that ABC, CBS and NBC not show bias against Christians by glossing over one of their most important holidays. If there are more than 300 million Americans, and 80 percent claim to be Christians, then the networks are slighting an important holiday for more than 240 million people,” advises lead author Erin R. Brown.

THE DADT SURGE

“Don’t ask, don’t tell”? Hm. Well, don’t ask. At least, don’t ask the 2.4-million-member American Legion, which remains strongly opposed to the efforts to repeal the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” law during Congress’ waning lame-duck session.

“What’s the rush? And why should this matter of social policy take precedence over the far more critical matter of national security?” asks National Commander Jimmie L. Foster. “The American Legion remains convinced a repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ cannot be easily implemented and could compromise the effectiveness of crucially needed fighting forces. Political expediency should not take precedence over providing adequate time for debate.”

SCREEN GEMS

View it and weep. Or maybe laugh. The Fox News Channel presents a notable one-hour special: “Politicians’ Top 10 Promises Gone Wrong,” hosted by John Stossel on Friday at 9 p.m.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Cromnibus”

A convenient amalgamation of “continuing resolution” and the $1.3 billion omnibus spending bill, now in use among Republican aides and Americans for Tax Reform, among others.

STEWING IN BREW

So much for Assange Obsession. Time magazine did not name WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Person of the Year 2010, granting that title to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Mr. Assange did not come in second place, either. That went to the “tea party,” the magazine decreed.

“The eye-catching aspects of the tea party movement were the folks with tricornered hats and the occasional offensive hand-painted signs and the wave-riding hucksters in various guises, from bumper-sticker salesmen to patriotic songwriters looking for fame to the tea party’s weepy master of ceremonies, Glenn Beck,” says Time writer David Von Drehle.

“Such spectacles were mostly foam, frothing on the surface. Down deep, forces like populism, libertarianism and skepticism of government - throw in some cultural conservatism and a dash of antielitism and, according to tea party critics, some measure of residual racism - created the swell that swept over American politics in 2010, inundating congressional Democrats while battering the Republican establishment.”

Mr. Von Drehle adds, “In a sense, identifying with the tea party movement was like catching Beatlemania in the 1960s. People were drawn in for different reasons - the beat, the haircuts, the lyrics - and great gulfs of taste divided the John fans from the Paul fans, the George fans from the Ringo fans.”

AGENT SWIMMER

A Twilight Sea Turtle

The last item to go into the last of 30 boxes of new toys collected by CIA employees for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign, placed there by agency Director Leon E. Panetta to highlight his California roots and a long-standing belief that Americans should be good stewards of the oceans, he says.

POLL DU JOUR

- 67 percent of Americans say the nation is “losing ground” on the budget deficit.

- 86 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

- 64 percent overall say the nation is losing ground on Social Security.

- 80 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

- 63 percent overall say the U.S. is losing ground on “job availability.”

- 71 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Democrats agree.

- 25 percent overall say the U.S. is losing ground on terrorism.

- 32 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,500 adults conducted Dec. 1 to 5.

- Brews, stews, turtles to jharper@washingtontimes .com.

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