Each yr, right-wing media ritually makes an attempt to fire up an ethical panic over a “war on Christmas.” Conservative pundits declare Democrats’ fixation on saying “happy holidays” as an alternative of “Merry Christmas” is an affront to American values.
It’s occurring once more this yr, however the debate has taken on a brand new that means amidst the coronavirus pandemic — and the stakes are literally extremely excessive. Fox News hosts and right-wing media influencers are aggressively claiming that the secular warriors are combating Christmas with social distancing measures and authorities restrictions. Convincing those that these fundamental public well being efforts are illegitimate and offensive is extremely harmful as COVID-19 circumstances surge across the nation and the United States surpasses its document for the variety of deaths from the virus in a single day.
Health officers have suggested Americans to restrict gatherings in an effort to stem the pandemic, which conservative media shops have used as proof of every little thing from an assault on Christian values to a nefarious plot to consolidate energy. In doing so, they’re as soon as once more promoting dangerous misinformation that has led to dangerous misconceptions about coronavirus and sure helped its unfold.
And within the weeks forward of Christmas, right-wing media figures have been warning that makes an attempt to manage the unfold of the virus are proof of leftist efforts to cancel the vacation.
Tucker Carlson, a top-rated Fox News host and casual adviser to President Donald Trump, lately gave a nonsensical monologue about “power-hungry leaders trying to cancel Christmas.” He claimed politicians had been trying to wreck Christmas as a result of they considered the vacation as diminishing their authority.
“They’ve figured out that Christmas is bigger than they are, and therefore, it’s a threat to them. Better cancel it ― and, in fact, they’re trying hard,” Carlson stated. He additionally instructed viewers that “death is inevitable” and that “maybe we should pause before we destroy the living in the name of trying to eliminate it.”
In a tweet that includes a video of Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking with Jake Tapper about social distancing measures, One America News correspondent and neo-Nazi collaborator Jack Posobiec wrote that the CNN host “does not get to tell me whether or not my family celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.” Breitbart ran a column asking if readers would enable “fascist governors” to “cancel your Christmas.” Right-wing radio host Mark Levin tweeted that “the government doesn’t have the power to cancel Thanksgiving or Christmas!”
Republican lawmakers have additionally tried to equate pointers meant to restrict gatherings through the vacation season with a leftist try to undermine American traditions, whereas ignoring skyrocketing coronavirus circumstances and public well being recommendation.
“They tried to cancel Thanksgiving. Didn’t work! They’re coming for Christmas next,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) tweeted.
The baseless narrative that Christmas is by some means being outlawed or erased from public celebration is without doubt one of the most enduring speaking factors for conservative tradition warriors, first gaining traction within the mid-2000s via former Fox News hosts similar to Bill O’Reilly. During the pandemic, right-wing pundits have infused their message with the panic of “cancel culture” and included Thanksgiving of their fearmongering.
“The left has always hated Thanksgiving … now they’re using the virus as an excuse for you not to be thankful,” right-wing activist Charlie Kirk claimed final month.
Health officers have seen a surge in coronavirus circumstances following Thanksgiving, and the state of affairs is barely anticipated to worsen within the coming weeks.
COVID-19 circumstances elevated throughout Canada following the nation’s Thanksgiving vacation in October, leading to quite a few provinces implementing restrictions on social gatherings. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed residents that “a normal Christmas is quite frankly out of the question,” and the premier of Manitoba, Brian Pallister, gave an emotional plea for folks to take the virus severely.
“If you don’t think that COVID’s real right now, you’re an idiot,” Pallister stated.
Many well being consultants fear that journey and gatherings over Christmas will exacerbate the newest spike in circumstances much more than Thanksgiving, as COVID-19 circumstances are already on the rise. States similar to California are coping with the potential for operating out of intensive care unit beds and are urging residents to remain residence. Vaccines are slowly changing into accessible to the general public, but it surely may very well be months earlier than they’re extensively accessible. Until then, social distancing stays one of many few issues that may mitigate the pandemic.
But in right-wing media, these harsh realities are nonexistent. As they’ve for a lot of the pandemic, Fox News hosts and pro-Trump media activists are peddling falsehoods about social distancing and the administration’s dealing with of the pandemic. To them, the menace doesn’t come from coronavirus; it comes from the left.
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