Cable networks salivating at their ratings-grabbing replays of live coverage of tragic events such as the Kennedy Assassination and 9/11 on their anniversaries have a new gimmick this holiday season.
Several networks are using their 2016 technology and applying their boilerplates to cover the first Christmas as though it were happening in real time.
The birth of mankind’s savior whose arrival was foretold by prophets for generations is Sweeps-worthy, especially with the sophisticated journalistic tools and approaches available in 2016.
The baby boy’s arrival on Dec. 25 in a manger in Bethlehem caught the cable news networks off guard because their pollsters had predicted the baby in question would be a girl born in June in Cozumel.
Nonetheless, when the child did arrive all the networks immediately launched into full “BREAKING NEWS” mode.
CNN gathered one of its signature panels to cover the event “from all sides”. The 32-member panel included a few Jews, an astrologer, a baby, one confirmed virgin, a couple of camels, a sheep and the usual array of jackasses. Absent from the panel were any wise men.
The FOX News Channel interrupted an O’Reilly Factor Special Report on the “WAR ON CHRISTMAS” to provide its unique perspective.
“We understand that three suspicious, uninvited strangers have arrived at the birth site,” a FOX anchor reported. “They appear to be from the Middle East and a series of tweets from President-Elect Trump says they are Radical Islamic Terrorists. We have not been able to confirm that but incessantly we will continue to refer to them as terrorists until we do.”
MSNBC latched on to a compelling sidebar.
“We have been in contact with the Housing Authority in Bethlehem,” an MSNBC correspondent reported. “The Housing Authority is looking into reports that the family was denied lodging because of discrimination. Sources say the inn in question is owned by Conservative Republicans, possibly from North Carolina.”
Meanwhile, CNN added to its panel with an angel, a guy name Balthazar, and for some reason, Anthony Bourdain.
There were conflicting reports about gifts being presented to the infant.
CNN reported that the gifts were gold, frankfurters and myrrh.
E! News contradicted the CNN report, instead saying that gold and frankincense were presented to the baby by Helen Mirren.
Bill O’Reilly broke into FOX’s Breaking News coverage to resume his special on the “WAR ON CHRISTMAS.”
O’Reilly called the reluctance of some religious leaders to immediately refer to the newborn as The Savior “The Tet Offensive of the War on Christmas.”
CNN added a handful of eyewitnesses to its panel as a correspondent still searching for debris from missing Flight MH 370 stumbled upon a group of shepherds that visited the newborn.
MSNBC questioned whether pronouncing the child Jesus’ name as “Jee-zus” rather than “Hay-zoos” was racist.
The History Channel was putting the finishing touches on a two-hour special about the birth.
In signature History Channel fashion, the program will address but not attempt to answer significant questions such as:
Was the baby the first Knights Templar?
Did Nostradamus accurately predict Jesus’ birth before it happened as well as 1,500 years before Nostradamus’ birth?
Is there life on the celestial body that guided the Three Wise Men to the Nativity scene?
Meanwhile CNN announced that Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin will host a live Easter special on Jesus’ life called “JC 360.”
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Les East is a nationally renown freelance journalist. He was recently named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists and Louisiana Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. When he’s not writing about sports — and sometimes when he is — he likes to provide snarky commentary on current events. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter — @Les_East