Fox News not outraged by retailers’ War on Thanksgiving

As giant stores commercialize the last holdout, Bill O'Reilly & Co. shrug

The New York Times editorializes today about the “War on Thanksgiving” that retailers and shoppers are waging on the last noncommercial holiday.

That’s a knowing slap at Fox News’s annual campaign against the trumped-up “War on Christmas.”

But, say, how has Fox covered what is an actual attack on a sacred American holiday? It hasn’t, really.

Google pulls up 842 hits on for “War on Christmas”:

It pulls up just five for “War on Thanksgiving,” none of which is about retailers commercializing the holiday, luring shoppers away from their families, and forcing workers away from theirs:

Searching through Factiva and Google using other terms than “War on Thanksgiving”, I still couldn’t find any outrage on Fox about the Thanksgiving retail story. It did merit a very brief mention on the O’Reilly Factor

Finally, Marie Thomasson, Sedalia, Colorado, “Stores open on Thanksgiving Day make me mad. They are destroying the meaning and magic of the holiday season.”

On this one, I disagree with you, Marie. Nobody is dragging you to the store. Now, with economy so bad, retailers have to make the money when they can.

Nobody is dragging you to the store. Unless you work there. In which case, your boss is dragging you to the store. But who cares about workers making single digits an hour? They probably can’t afford turkey anyway.

To his credit, O’Reilly later ran a note from a viewer who disagreed with him and pointed to the workers:

Kasey Kuzma, Endicott, New York: “Bill, for once you may be wrong. No one drags me to the stores on Thanksgiving. But what about those employees who are forced to work.”

I know of no such situation, Kasey. Working on a federal holiday is voluntary. And if you know differently, please let me know and I’ll take care of it.

That’s just laughably wrong.

While some retailers say they try to staff their stores with volunteers who want holiday pay, it’s very clear that’s not the case for most of them. There’s no federal law that mandates time off or even holiday pay for private-sector workers.

Let me again quote the Seattle Times, which actually talked to retail workers:

A local Sports Authority worker said he’ll miss out on Thanksgiving dinner with his family because he has to report for duty at 5 p.m. Thursday for the store’s 6 p.m. opening. He said the holiday shift comes with no extra pay or perks.

“My family doesn’t plan to eat dinner until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, so I won’t be spending Thanksgiving with them, basically,” said the twenty-something worker, who spoke on condition that his name not be used, citing a fear of getting fired.

Hey, Seattle Sports Authority employee forced to miss Thanksgiving and afraid of getting fired: Bill O’Reilly will take care of it.

Further reading:

Shopping on Thanksgiving kills poor workers’ holidays. But labor gets short shrift in too much of the coverage of encroaching commercialization

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,