Study: TV networks have 'War on Easter'

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,ABC,CBS,NBC,Mainstream Media Scream,Media,Religion,Catholicism

A three-year study of how network news refers to “Easter” reveals that by a margin of 500-56, reports that mention the word or “Easter season” choose a secular path linking it to candy Peeps, frilly clothes and cocktails over Christ’s resurrection.

“Instead of celebrating Christ's rising from the dead, the networks have made it about 'egg-cellent Easter fashions,' frilly Easter bonnets and pink martinis,” said a report from the conservative Media Research Center provided to Secrets.

The study reviewed three years of news in the two weeks before Easter and found that about 89 percent of the references to the holy day were to secular topics, not religion. The report did not include “Easter” references to weather, time or greetings, such as “Happy Easter.”

What they found is that the Big Three TV networks worked overtime to “secularize and trivialize Easter to render it essentially meaningless,” wrote Katie Yoder of MRC’s Culture and Media Institute.

She had some fun with the results, offering MRC’s view of the mainstream media’s definition of Easter:

Easter (n): The annual Christian celebration in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

Synonyms: 1. Peeps. 2. fashion. 3. martinis. 4. bonnets. 5. common thread of humanity.

Source: The liberal media.

The "War on Easter" report included several examples of the secular coverage, including:

— During ABC’s “Good Morning America” on March 21, 2013, anchor Josh Elliott deemed “the Peep” synonymous with “Easter.” Eight days later, ABC weather anchor Sam Champion asked lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer on “Good Morning America,” “This is Easter weekend, which means what?” Spencer responded, “Peeps.”

— NBC’s April 19, 2011 “Today” started with host Hoda Kotb introducing the Easter segment: “Something tells me Kathie Lee is really going to enjoy the next few minutes, and it might have something to do with pink martinis!” After the ladies introduced Nathan Turner to promote his role in Bravo’s “Million Dollar Decorators,” co-host Gifford applauded him: “You’re an excellent host, you start right off with a pink –” Turner interrupted, “You know, with a drinky.” Gifford expanded, “A drinky-poo.” Turner reasoned, “Why not? It’s Easter.”

The Media Research Center teams with Secrets every Monday to select the biggest Mainstream Media Scream of the week.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.