CNN anchor Carol Costello mocked the annual "War on Christmas" theme on Wednesday morning's Newsroom. Liberal Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) said he would light the state's "holiday tree" and "Fox News, as it does every year, went crazy." Apparently, the calmer CNN mocks this at the same time it lines it up to be its "Talk Back" feature for audience reaction.
Costello underlined the liberal nature of CNN by then reading from Jason Linkins of The Huffington Post about how this whole "war on Christmas" just "never was" and is insulting to Christians, such as himself. But Costello drained out the HuffPo writer's talk of Christians issuing "fatwas" and carrying around an "insane persecution complex."
Here's how Costello pranced through the controversy in the 11 am hour.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Is there really a war on Christmas? Is there such a thing. That's the "Talk Back" question. I guess it's that time of year, [co-anchor] T.J. [Holmes]. No, not for good cheer. It's time to wage war on Christmas. Yes, it has begun. The first bomb allegedly dropped in Rhode Island. Governor Lincoln Chafee, neither Republican or Democrat, but Independent, called the statehouse Christmas tree a holiday tree. Fox News, as it does every year, went crazy.
STEVE DOOCY, FOX & FRIENDS: I mean, if it was a maple tree, or an elm in there, maybe it's a holiday tree, but it sure looks like a Christmas tree.
STATE REP. DOREEN COSTA: If it has -- Steve, if it has lights and ornaments and an angel and decorations on top, it's a Christmas tree.
DOOCY: Oh, you're right.
COSTELLO: Oh, but Chafee is sticking to "holiday tree." He says, "Use of the term 'holiday tree' is a continuation of past practice and does not represent a change of course on my part. The word 'holiday,' he says, "symbolizes religious freedom."
I know, it's ridiculous, depending on how you look at it. As political reporter Jason Linkins writes on "The Huffington Post," "There is no war on Christmas, never was." He goes on to write, "In fact, many Christians, myself included, register a basic level of annoyance at the way the Christmas season now stretches back into October because we don't really need a basic reminder of how to properly celebrate the birth of Christ or his divinity on the account of the fact there is a basic concept called faith that we keep in our hearts." So, the "Talk Back" question for you today: Is there really a war on Christmas?
The only "Talk Back" audience reaction Costello read later in the hour was "Angie says, 'I'm tired of anyone thinking their religion deserves more respect than any other.'"
But Costello sort of mangled her quotation of Linkins to end nicely on the sound of Linkins keeping faith in his heart. But that thought didn't end in a period. The sentence ran on, with snark she left out after the reference to hearts: "and which suffers no impediment from the way the nice people at the grocery store thank us for our custom. But there are another group of Christians who are incapable of holding onto their faith unless it is repetitively validated in the utterances of people who work at major American retailers. And it is on this front that the 'war on Christmas' has historically been fought."
Linkins also re-quoted himself from 2007: "Well, as near as I can tell, being the top-dog, religion-wise, just isn't good enough for some people. There apparently exist adherents who are so feckless and inconstant in their faith, that nothing short of constant validation will do. So when one of these lesser lights walks into Walgreens and hears "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas And Praise Be To You Who Were Smart Enough To Practice The Best Religion Ever!" something inside these adherents' psyches snaps, breaks, and they come to develop an insane persecution complex."
Linkins then mocked how Walgreens walked back to wishing its customers a Merry Christmas: "For the American Family Association, which is best known for issuing a fatwa against the Gap for not using the term 'Christmas' when it actually was, it's a hard-won concession."
That doesn't quite sound like CNN's reverent Mr. Keep Faith In Our Hearts, does it?