FNC’s Bret Baier ended his Tuesday night “Grapevine” segment by highlighting NewsBusters’ Monday morning post which has generated quite a buzz on a lot of blog sites, “Nina Totenberg: ‘I Was At – Forgive the Expression – a Christmas Party...’” In Wednesday’s Washington Post, however, The Reliable Source column insisted “her critics got it completely wrong” since “she was, she says, defending Christmas.” As for bloggers who pounced on her, the NPR reporter said “these folks need a life -- and perhaps a touch of the Christmas spirit, as well.”
Baier noted that “NPR's Nina Totenberg is getting a bah humbug from some for something she said on a Washington political program.” Viewers then saw part of a clip of Totenberg posted by NB:
These agencies, including the Defense Department, don't know how much money they've got and for what. And I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice and people actually were really worried about this.
Baier then read from the NB post:
NewsBusters' Brent Baker wrote Totenberg was, quote, “seemingly embarrassed to invoke any religious terminology for Christmas. She didn't say what she'd prefer for parties this time of the year to be named. ‘Winter solstice party'? Just plain old ‘holiday party'? Or a ‘seasonal gathering'?”
We reached Totenberg herself during her “Christmas vacation” (her term) in Jamaica. Turns out her critics got it completely wrong: She was, she says, defending Christmas. The DOJ celebration was officially dubbed a “holiday” party, and she was gently mocking that generic designation. “I think that's kind of silly because it's obviously a Christmas party,” she told us. “I was tweaking the Department of Justice. It was a touch of irony at the expense of the Justice department, not at the expense of Christmas.”
As for the bloggers who were so quick to judge -- without bothering to ask her what she meant: “Jeesh, these folks need a life -- and perhaps a touch of the Christmas spirit, as well.”
Lamely, Inside Washington host Gordon Peterson cited the old Agronsky & Company days “when they taped the show in a studio with a piano, she and Carl Rowan would belt out carols every December. ‘I know she loves Christmas,’ Peterson said. ‘I've seen her at Christmas parties -- if you'll pardon the expression.’”
— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.