Easter (n): The annual Christian celebration in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
Synonyms: 1. Peeps. 2. fashion. 3. martinis. 4. bonnets. 5. common thread of humanity.
Source: The liberal media.
Dilemma: You’re a thoroughly secularized, liberal TV journalist and the central religious holiday of the Christian faith is coming. You can’t completely ignore it and you can’t show your outright disdain for the faithful and their quaint beliefs. The solution: secularize and trivialize Easter to render it essentially meaningless.
That’s how ABC, CBS and NBC have handled the Easter season recently. Over the last three years, the networks attached the word “Easter” to secular topics 500 times versus religious topics 56 times – that’s about 89 percent. Instead of celebrating Christ’s rising from the dead, the networks have made it about “egg-cellent Easter fashions,” frilly Easter bonnets and pink martinis or, in NBC’s words, “drinky-poos.” Chocolate, it turns out, is “the essential part of Easter,” except for Peeps, because “Easter depends on [Peeps].”
During ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 21, 2013, anchor Josh Elliot deemed “the peep” synonymous with “Easter.” Eight days later, ABC’s weather anchor Sam Champion asked lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer on “Good Morning America,” “This is Easter weekend, which means what?” Spencer responded, “Peeps.”
NBC played copycat on March 30, as co-anchor Erica Hill said the exact same thing (great minds think alike?). That same day, NBC’s Dylan Dreyer announced, “No crazy eyes, crooked beaks, or improper Peeps allowed,” during “Today” and concluded, “Easter depends on this.”
Where the peep references ran out, NBC’s gossip ladies Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb picked up.
A doozy from the beginning, NBC’s April 19, 2011 “Today” started with host Hoda Kotb introducing the Easter segment: “Something tells me Kathie Lee is really going to enjoy the next few minutes and it might have something to do with pink martinis!” After the ladies introduced Nathan Turner to promote his role in Bravo’s “Million Dollar Decorators,” co-host Gifford applauded him: “You’re an excellent host, you start right off with a pink –” Turner interrupted, “You know, with a drinky.” Gifford expanded, “A drinky-poo.” Turner reasoned, “Why not? It’s Easter.” Article continues after the video.
The ladies provided further entertainment during NBC’s “Today” on April 5, 2012. When Better Homes and Gardens contributing Design Editor Elaine Griffin declared that, “Easter is about two things, family and fun.” Gifford nodded, “Well, it's also about something else, but we won't get into that.”
Other Easter synonyms flew across the airwaves, such as the “soft pastels,” of celebrity event planner Colin Cowie on NBC’s April 21, 2011 “Today.” The “news” show also defined Easter as “all about color, spring times” via entrepreneur Brit Morin on March 28, 2013 and chocolate (the “essential part of Easter”) via host Carson Daly on March 25, 2013.
On April 22, 2011, ABC’s “Good Morning America” even found a way to hype the game Angry Birds with a “special golden egg” for Easter.
But the frivolity reached its peak in the form of Easter bonnets. During “Good Morning America,” ABC guest-host Katie Couric asked Champion on April 2, 2012, “Will I be able to wear my Easter bonnets on Sunday with all the frills upon it? She echoed anchor David Muir’s sentiments during ABC’s “World News” on April 23, 2011: “It’s the weekend of Easter bonnets in this country.”
Muir deviated from his bonnets on April 7, 2011 by noting President Barack Obama’s Passover and Easter comments instead and translated: “Passover and Easter remind us all of the common thread of humanity that connects us.”
The nets also spent an exorbitant amount of time on cooking (“Easter dinner on a budget” on CBS’ “The Early Show,” April 23, 2011) and fashion (“egg-cellent Easter fashions” on NBC’s “Today,” April 12, 2011).
Perhaps it’s a blessing that the networks don’t usually bother to address faith and religious issues. Those times it is unavoidable, such as when Pope Benedict XVI stepped down and when Francis I was elected, their reporting has been a mix of ignorance and hostility. They lack the ability to understand religious faith and any sympathy for socially conservative organizations.
But hey, at least the nets worship Earth Day.
— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.
Editor’s note: Culture and Media’s Kristine Marsh contributed to this tally.
Note: The MRC did not include “Easter” in regards to greetings, time or weather references. The 500 vs. 56 count tally consisted of ABC, CBS and NBC’s use of “Easter” the two weeks before Easter in the years 2011-2013.