Malkin advises Fox host: Treat atheists like Internet trolls
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday December 18, 2008

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Gretchen Carlson of Fox & Friends has emerged this fall as Bill O'Reilly's most overwrought disciple in pursuing Fox's annual War on Christmas. Now even conservative columnist Michelle Malkin seems to find it necessary to try to talk her down.

"I'm just so enraged," Carlson began on Thursday, "by all these atheist displays and trying to push Jesus to the back seat on Christmas Day."

Carlson then turned for moral support to Malkin, who clearly failed to share her sense of outrage.

"I'm starting to get Christmas Wars fatigue," Malkin replied. "I don't know about you guys, but every year now for the last five or six years we've seen these outbursts and these tantrums from people who can't just leave well enough alone and let people enjoy the good cheer of the season."

Perhaps realizing that it might sound like she was actually criticizing Fox for inventing and perpetuating the "war on Christmas," Malkin quickly turned to blaming atheists for spoiling the spirit of the holidays.

"I think this is really a result of identity politics run amok," Malkin suggested, adding, "Now atheists need their 15 minutes of fame." However, it was not clear whether she was referring to all atheists, since she made a point of adding that "some of my best friends are atheists."

"I would advise some of the people of faith who are watching this happen in their towns and cities across the country," Malkin suggested, "not to go stealing their signs, you know. Let them make fools of themselves in the public square and say a prayer for them."

Carlson, however, was not prepared to hear Malkin's message of live and let live. "If you let them do that, then over time they will have the control," she insisted with a note of panic in her voice. "If you don't stand up and fight for it, it might just disappear!"

"I'm talking about Christianity!" Carlson added with an expression of shock on her face.

"Yeah, that's true," said Malkin in a pacifying tone, "but I think there's also an alternate view, which is you treat these people like trolls. And that's a phenomenon on the Internet where you have people who are simply just attention-seekers, who are trying to undermine civility and undermine peace, and if you give them attention it just emboldens them."

Brian Kilmeade jumped in to ask Malkin jokingly if she would "swear on a stack of Bibles ... to ignore the atheist movement," to which Malkin replied that is what she has been trying to do, though "making fun of them" might also work.

"We can all joke about this," Carlson concluded plaintively, "but the bottom line is, this is serious business -- at least to me."

This video is from Fox's Fox & Friends, broadcast Dec. 18, 2008.

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