If you were online at all over the weekend — something we can’t in good conscience recommend — you may have seen a social media dustup about Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington Correspondent. On Sunday, in a conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Tapper was discussing the likelihood of new developments in COVID vaccine research and how soon a “return to normal” would be feasible. Fauci confirmed that it would likely be several months, at best, before enough vaccines have been developed for Americans to safely re-enter “normal life.”
“So Christmas is probably not gonna be possible,” Tapper summarized.
CNN’s Jake Tapper this morning: “Christmas is probably not gonna be possible.” pic.twitter.com/z56ifNCr3G
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) November 15, 2020
The comment was seized on by certain people who have a lot to gain by painting Tapper, CNN and mainstream media outlets at large as “anti-Christian.” Memes quickly took flight hither and yon across the internet yanking Tapper’s words from context. Franklin Graham tweeted that Tapper had made a “gloomy prediction,” saying “I have news for him — Christmas is going to be celebrated by millions around the world bc it isn’t about gatherings — it’s about Jesus Christ.”
In a tweet that was shared over 11 thousand times, far-right provocateur Jack Posobiec agreed that “Jake Tapper does not get to tell me whether or not my family gets to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.”
True enough, but from the context, it’s obvious that Tapper wasn’t trying to tell anyone to stop celebrating the birth of Jesus. As he himself pointed out “I was obviously talking about whether families would be able to *safely* observe and celebrate Christmas together. But sure, attack the Jew.” Tapper was referring to a timeline, not firing a warning shot in the War on Christmas.
For decades, the American Church has been (correctly) insisting that the holiday season has gotten too big, commercialized and pumped over-full of consumeristic razzle dazzle and yet now that we’re all being told to dial it back this year, we’re losing our Christmas marbles. Let’s not get so hooked on reactionary contrarianism that we let an opportunity to demonstrate how to lovingly celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in our own hearts pass by because we’re just too busy making up excuses to demonize mainstream media.