2 Christmas Season Stories We Can Do Without

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Christmas season’s here, and that means it’s time for Big Media to file holiday-related stories. Usually, this means spotlighting the status of Christians and religious freedom in the Holy Land. West Bank holy sites and UNESCO may be this year’s de-rigeuer issue. Those are legitimate and timely angles.

But there are two Christmas stories we can do without.

1. Santa photo-ops.

This isn’t even a story, it’s a manufactured photo event. Palestinian supporters show up at protests dressed as Santa because it’s a geat photo opportunity opportunism.

Photographers know they can sell these images, editors like the oddity, and Palestinians win because images like these hitting the wires reinforce the message that Israel’s the grinch.These three images are from Reuters, AFP, and AP, respectively — all from different years.

I’d be careful. If St. Nick and all the elves on Facebook aren’t jolly to see these images, a lot of Palestinians and their supporters are going to find coal in their stockings.

 2. Traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem, in the footsteps of Joseph and Mary.

BBC journos Aleem Maqbool and Matthew Price have done this road trip. So have Rory McCarthy (The Guardian) and Stephen Farrell (Times of London). There’s nothing spiritual about this MSM pilgrimage.

These shallow dispatches are just an excuse to say “Joseph and Mary would be stuck at bah-humbug Israeli checkpoints if they were around today.”

Here’s a twist on the story I’d find appealing: Travel the Nazareth-Bethlehem route with Israeli security patrols and see first-hand the likelihood of Joseph and Mary getting stoned, shot, blown up, or lynched.

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