Monday, 13 December 2010

Debunking Winterval and the War on Christmas

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

During his UK visit, the Pope repeated the myth
of the War on Christmas
Kevin Arscott, who writes the Angry Mob blog (one of the several excellent blogs concerned with debunking the tabloid press, in particular the Daily Mail) has just published an extended essay in which he traces the origins of the "Winterval" myth, and how it developed into the now-annual narrative of a "War on Christmas" waged against Christianity in the name of multiculturalism and political correctness.

Arscott shows how the myth has been constantly repeated and distorted by the national and local media over the past decade, with even government ministers getting involved, despite having very little basis in reality. It's a lengthy essay, but it's worth reading as it will hopefully serve as definitive evidence that there is not a concerted effort each Christmas to "air-brush the Christian faith out of the picture", as the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey suggested recently. And as Arscott points out in his conclusion, debunking tabloid myths such as Winterval is important, as they are part of a wider pattern of disinformation and scapegoating in the tabloids:
"It is important to remember Winterval – even if the myth now dies off – as an example of what a poorly-regulated, agenda-driven media can do with a simple concept. If the media are prepared to repeat, as fact, something that was so blatantly a complete lie right from the beginning, then imagine that they apply the same treatment to a huge amount of the stories that feed into the same narratives. The stories about 'Cafe owners being forced to remove extractor fan '”because smell of frying bacon offends Muslims”' or swimming pools being blacked out to appease Muslims are just two examples of the myriad of stories that are based on shameless lies. Like Winterval they will live-on as complete untruth not only because the tabloid press will repeat them, but also because they have already entered the consciousness of those that want to believe that Muslims really are trying to take over Britain" 
 The essay is available to download as a PDF via Arscott's blog.
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