Published December 21, 2004
Revenge of the secularists. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
Well, the giant has awakened. Millions of Americans are now aware that the traditions of Christmas are under fire by committed secularists, people who do not want any public demonstration of spirituality. The situation is, of course, absurd. Department stores refusing to post Merry Christmas banners, Denver having a holiday parade that bans a float honoring Jesus, a school in Maplewood, New Jersey (search), forbidding any song that mentions Christianity, even "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
"The Factor" has been exposing these anti-Christmas people and they are under heavy fire. So this weekend, some in the media stepped up to attack me.
The real smear stuff was done by the usual suspects, including Tim Rutten (search ), who writes for The Los Angeles Times. Rutten is a vile character assassinator who defames and then hides. What a guy he is.
The New York Times actually did a hard news piece about the controversy entitled, "Does Christmas Need to Be Saved?" Here's a shock. The Times doesn't think so.
Reporter Kate Zernike uses The Times playbook and blames the dreaded conservatives for causing all the ruckus. She then tries to demean the folks who think Christmas should be publicly respected, writing, "Of course, for many conservatives, this controversy is not just about Christmas; it's a way to talk about a whole float of issues. Bill O'Reilly warned viewers that store clerks no longer saying 'Merry Christmas' foretold the imminence of a brave new progressive world where gay marriage, partial birth abortion and legalized drugs run rampant."
Of course, Ms. Zernike's analysis of my column, which is posted right now on billoreilly.com, is misleading in the extreme and she knows it. Anybody who reads it could know it. Just go there, read it and read her article. It's absurd.
But hey, last week, Times columnist Alessandra Stanley accused me of suing someone I never sued. And before that -- oh, forget it. If you believe what these Times people are putting out, I can't help you.
My favorite Christmas attack comes from Denver Post columnist Joanne Ostrow (search ), who's been saying bad things about me for 20 years. "There's the possibility that a charlatan like Bill O'Reilly, who made waves last week with a rant against the supposed anti-Christmas humbugs of America, may be taken seriously ... O'Reilly's attack on homosexuals, Jews, liberals and secular blue-staters in general came during his syndicated radio show."
No, it didn't, Ms. Ostrow. There were no attacks. You, madam, are not telling the truth. And again, I can prove it. We have posted my conversation with Hannah Rosenthal, the head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (search ), a good organization, on billoreilly.com. You can listen to it right now after you read the column. And it proves Ms. Ostrow, another scribe hiding under her desk, is being dishonest, flat-out dishonest.
So why is this stuff happening? Two reasons. First, my argument that Christmas is a tradition that belongs in the public arena is a strong one. If these smear merchants can diminish me personally, they don't have to deal with the argument.
And second, intimidation. The FOX News Channel and its commentators stand in the way of the secular agenda. Demonizing us sends a message to others who may challenge the secular cabal. Do it and we will slime you badly. So that's what's going on. Another vicious battle in the American culture war. Somewhere Jesus is weeping.
And that's the "Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
FOX News/Opinion Dynamics has done a poll on the Christmas season. Here are some of the highlights:
• When asked does it seem Christian symbols of Christmas are more or less under attack this year, 51 percent said more, just 20 percent say less and 17 percent believe same as always.
• When asked if schools displaying Menorahs should also be required to display nativity scenes, 82 percent of Americans say yes, 11 percent say no.
• "The Factor" believes all holiday symbols should be allowed in public. To believe otherwise is ridiculous, with all due respect.
—You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org