Earlier this week, the 50-foot Christmas tree posted outside FOX News’ New York City headquarters caught fire in a case of suspected arson, injuring no one, and conservatives have been having a very normal, proportionate reaction, ever since. Just kidding!
Despite the fact that there’s no evidence the tree burning was politically motivated — police said the suspect they apprehended is mentally ill and that the arson was not premeditated — FOX anchors and friends of the network have spent the better part of the week comparing the incident to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, questioning why the attack isn’t being treated as a “hate crime,” inexplicably connecting the Christmas tree to Hanukkah, and most recently, insisting that we now live in a time when “Christmas trees need bodyguards.”
In Meghan McCain’s latest rant as a columnist at the Daily Mail, McCain insists “people don’t want to live in a city where even the Christmas trees need bodyguards,” and manages to connect the random tree-burning to the “Alice in Wonderland liberal America” we’re now living in, where crime is supposedly tearing “Democrat cities” apart.
“With a historic rise in homicides in 2020 and continued bloodshed in 2021 it seems more and more we are headed back towards the infamous crime waves of the 1970's,” she concludes, based on *checks notes* the burning of the FOX Christmas tree. “The crime waves by the way that ushered in the renaissance of law and order under President Ronald Reagan.”
McCain’s column decrying the tree-burning as emblematic of conservatives’ mythical antifa-crime-surge comes after her Wednesday tweet appearing to suggest that we can no longer call out far-right extremism and attacks on democracy because… a random man set a particularly tall tree ablaze.
Speaking of crime, Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade sure has questions about why the burning of the network’s “All-American Christmas Tree” isn’t a hate crime, sparked, first, by his wondering why the suspect, a 49-year-old unhoused man named Craig Tamanaha, wasn’t eligible to be held on bail.
The tree-burning would only have been a bail-eligible offense if someone had been injured, or if the fire was a suspected hate crime, prompting Kilmeade to pose the question, “Who says it’s not a hate crime against us, against FOX News?” (Well, the network’s beloved police are actually the ones who are saying that, so maybe take it up with them?)
Kilmeade naturally isn’t alone in his certainty that because the team at FOX hated their Christmas tree being burned, it was therefore a hate crime. OK. Tucker Carlson, ever a voice of reason, is also furious that Attorney General Merrick Garland isn’t busy prosecuting all Christmas tree-burners across the country.
Notably, few actual hate crimes — like, say the 2015 mass shooting at a Black church in Charleston that killed nine — have qualified as “hate crimes” to the hosts at Fox & Friends, but this attack on an inanimate 50-foot tree? This is a hate crime.
In any case, it’s a huge relief that no one was hurt in the tree-burning, and arson is no joking matter. That said, conservatives’ ongoing “War on Christmas” self-victimization complex absolutely is, and so is the fact that their understanding of hate crimes is about as accurate as Michael Scott’s on The Office. In any case, one does have to wonder where all of the outrage and energized defenses of Christmas from FOX were last year, when one particular first lady asked, “Who gives a fuck about the Christmas stuff?”