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Megyn Kelly and Bill O’Reilly’s white Christmas war at Fox News

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In the true spirit of Christmas....Bill O'Reilly back up Megyn Kelly on the fact that Santa and Jesus were white men
In the true spirit of Christmas....Bill O'Reilly back up Megyn Kelly on the fact
that Santa and Jesus were white men

It's been a white Christmas war over at Fox News.

Ever since Fox host Megyn Kelly took it upon herself to emphatically reassure children (and Fox News viewers) that Santa and Jesus are white, the growing controversy has threatened to do real damage to what some critics are now laughingly calling the 'fair and blond' network.

Accurately sensing a threat to their 16-year-old news channel, Fox pulled Brigadier General of the War on Christmas Bill O'Reilly out this week, who gallantly sprang to Kelly's defense.

Megyn's comments were 'totally harmless' O'Reilly scoffed. Besides, he said, 'Miss Kelly is correct. Santa was a white person.' Then in a more philosophical mood O'Reilly added that 'the spirit of Santa transcends all racial bounds.'

But for the record he was white, OK?

If O'Reilly is correct and Kelly's comments were 'totally harmless' and 'don't matter,' then why did she - and he - double down on her original claims? Why, come to that, were they even talking about them on their shows in the first place?

Kelly's remarks were made in response to a Slate article by Aisha Harris that suggested Santa doesn't need to be a white man anymore. But Kelly's argument, and that of her all white panel, was that Santa is white, and everyone else will just have to get used to it.

The son of God was also a white man, Kelly later added. Not that it mattered. She was just saying.

Given the level of the original debate, O'Reilly's rescue mission was doomed to be a mixed success. Finding little enough to salvage he was left to conclude the whole furor was just the latest attempt by liberals to discredit his network.

But was it though? Or was it a particularly illuminating window into the nonstop 'circle the wagons' impulse that is now guiding the Fox News cycle and the GOP itself?

Between the war on Christmas, the war on Christianity and the war on Capitalism, they're the network that cries wolf now on principle.

It's certainly been a disastrous news cycle for Fox and - some would say - by extension the GOP. Reflect that Mitt Romney lost 83 percent of the minority vote in 2012. Republican party elders already know that when it comes to minorities they have a desperately serious 'outreach problem.'

On the 2012 election night itself the visual contrast between the multi-racial multi-generational crowd at the Obama campaign headquarters and the sea of middle aged white faces in blue blazers or pearls at Romney's more upscale tent told the story of the two Americas better than any pundit ever could.

In fact that unforgettably stark contrast has driven some long-time conservative activists to despair of all attempts to reach minorities at all.

Phyllis Schlafly said this year that courting Latinos was a huge waste of time, because they 'don’t have any Republican inclinations at all' and in any case are 'running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as the blacks are' and worst of all they 'have no experience with limited government.'

Uninformed jack rabbits who can't keep it in their pants, immoral moochers who bleed the system. Way to court the minority vote Phyllis.

Meanwhile Kelly responded to the firestorm she started by bluntly insisting that she and Fox News were its real victims.

'I guess we all owe you an apology,' funny man Jon Stewart replied on the "Daly Show." 'What appeared to me to be another example of a Fox News segment expressing anger and victimization over the loss of absolute power and reframing that as persecution of ‘real America’ by minorities, freeloaders, and socialists – what I thought was that was a jest, a jape, a bit of wise-crackery.'

But even if Kelly had been joking, which I must admit I doubt, in her original broadcast she said something that was genuinely eye-popping. Minorities can feel aggrieved and excluded, she seemed to suggest, but 'just because it makes you uncomfortable does't mean it has to change.'

There's outreach for you.

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