Saturday, December 18, 2004

Reversal of Christmas Tree Ban

On December 17th Fox News ran an AP story (actually they ran two but more about the other below) about the reversal of a Christmas tree ban in Pasco County, FL. The next day CNN ran the same AP story. Both have identical headlines. The CNN wording is exactly the same as an AP story in another paper which I reached through the AP website. Here is the link:

CNN’s article has an AP copyright at the end of their story. Fox does not and their story is very similar but has some mostly minor changes.

CNN had this information that Fox did not:

That decision drew angry reactions from residents and the American Center for Law & Justice, a law firm founded by televangelist Pat Robertson.

"People should respect the religious views of others; people should broaden their perspective, their intelligence, stop being so narrow-minded," said dry-cleaning clerk Marijane Graham. "What's next, banning Santa Claus?"

Fox does not have Graham’s quote or mention of angry reactions. Fox does mention Robertson’s law firm. They also have this quote from the chief counsel for the firm: "It was a complete overreaction by the county, almost to the point of absurd," Sekulow said. They also had this quote from the assistant county administrator for Public Services, Jay Johnson: "For 15 years, we didn't have an issue, we didn't have a problem," Johnson said. "Hopefully we can all just return to normal."

Earlier on the 17th Fox ran an AP story that covered the original ban. I could not find a similar article on CNN’s site through their search services. That article talked more of the angry reaction and gave a different quote from the dry-cleaning clerk:

"This whole thing is silly. It floors me," said Marijane Graham, 67, of Dade City. "I'm sure there are atheists celebrating Christmas somewhere just for the spirit of giving. I've never read about a Christmas tree in the Bible, or Santa for that matter."

Links to the articles:,2933,141894,00.html,2933,141805,00.html

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