Fox News host Bill O'Reilly defended
fellow Fox host Megyn Kelly Monday night, saying that Santa Claus is indeed white. But, he noted, it doesn't really matter.
Kelly came under fire
last week after saying that both Santa and Jesus were white men. She was responding to a Slate article by Aisha Harris, who wrote an opinion piece titled "Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore."
"When I saw this headline I kinda laughed and I said, 'Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa,'" Kelly said. "And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white."
A firestorm of criticism erupted, especially after Kelly had just told "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno days earlier that she isn't one of the opinion hosts on Fox News.
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Critics said St. Nicholas, the model for Santa Claus, was from what is modern-day Turkey, and Jesus was a Middle-Eastern Jew. Both had dark skin, they said.
But O'Reilly said Turks today don't consider themselves nonwhite.
"In this case, Ms. Kelly was correct. Santa was a white person," O'Reilly said. "Does that matter? No, it doesn't matter. The spirit of Santa transcends all racial boundaries."
But the real target of the criticism, he said, was Fox News itself.
"Any talk to skin color brings out the zealots, and anything attached to Fox News Channel will be seized upon by the media," O'Reilly said, noting that the criticism goes back to the network's founding 17 years ago when it was predicted MSNBC and CNN would crush the conservative-leaning Fox.
"They were wrong," O'Reilly said.
Fox consistently outperforms CNN and MSNBC in the ratings,
and the "liberal media" therefore seek to demonize Fox as a "right wing propaganda machine and a racist enterprise," he said.
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