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Did Obama and the FCC Fine ABC for Airing “A Charlie Brown Christmas”?

A Tribute to Rush Limbaugh
A Tribute to Rush Limbaugh

Claim

President Obama and/or the FCC fined ABC for airing “A Charlie Brown Christmas” because non-Christians might find it offensive.

Rating

Not True
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Reporting

As the false “war on Christmas” narrative spread in 2014, at least one satirical blog sought attention by linking it to another right-wing boogeyman in then-President Barack Obama.

The “National Report” claimed in a post (which has since been taken down) that the ABC television network was fined for airing the animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas. According to the site, the Obama administration “quietly” inserted the fine into a $1.1 trillion spending bill. The post read:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission, acting on an executive order issued by Barack Obama, fined the ABC television network for airing A Charlie Brown Christmas, because several overtly Christian references were found to be “potentially damaging, offensive and exclusionary” to non-Christians, according to a Commission spokesperson.

The FCC’s Board of Directors – all Obama appointees –  quietly inserted the penalty notification as an addendum to last week’s $1.1 trillion spending bill vote in Congress.

The 1965 animated holiday favorite came under fire from Islamic and other non-Christian organizations that petitioned for equal network time to air alternative religious programming or none at all during the traditional holiday season. The original request calling for “affirmatively active non-Christian and/or non-denominational programming” was submitted to the network in 2009, with no movement taking place until this year.

Although the report was published in 2014, it also went viral after ABC aired A Charlie Brown Christmas in 2015.

Billing itself as “America’s shittiest independent news source” and with a design resembling that of a “traditional” newspaper site, the National Report blog does contain a disclaimer:

National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental. Advice given is NOT to be construed as professional. If you are in need of professional help, please consult a professional. National Report is not intended for children under the age of 18.

However, taken out of context, readers have been duped duped into believing that its story on the “fine” was legitimate.

Update 12/22/2020, 3:41 p.m. PST: This article has been revamped and updated. You can review the original here.