Opinion: News Outlets, NORAD Should Not Perpetuate The Santa Lie

Having been raised Jewish, I never believed in Santa Claus. I also was fully aware that the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny weren't real and I had my doubts about Mr. Rogers, which later proved to be false.

Since I never believed, I was saved the trauma of finding out and my parents were spared going to elaborate lengths to maintain the lie.

I have taken the same tact with my son (who is not Jewish) and, while my wife and I have been careful to encourage him to not reveal the truth to his classmates, we have never pretended that Santa exists.

Now, I understand that just because something is not my tradition does not mean it has no value. I'm fine with parents and families who use the legend of Santa Claus as a way to motivate kids to behave during the Christmas season. Where I become a tad enraged is when legitimate news organizations and government agencies become involved in making the Santa lie even more elaborate.

NBC. CBS. ABC and other news outlets should not run stories tracking Santa on Christmas Eve nor should NORAD provide the pretend info they cite in these reports.

Everyone would be angry if Brian Williams did 60 seconds on how a scarred. bald man with knives on his hands was terrorizing the children on Elem St.

after they fall asleep.

We should be equally mad at when he sells out his credibility to pimp Santa, a fictional character that most five-year-olds would see through if so much of the aduly world was not devoted to keeping up the con.

If the news outlets are bad, the participation of NORAD is even worse. This is not a lighthearted organization. Here's how it describers its mission on its own website.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a United States and Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands. Aerospace control includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the airspace of Canada and the United States. The renewal of the NORAD Agreement in May 2006 added a maritime warning mission, which entails a shared awareness and understanding of the activities conducted in U.S. and Canadian maritime approaches, maritime areas and internal waterways.

Traditions are wonderful, but they need not involve government organizations designed to protect us from missiles, aliens, and other potential threats.

News organizations should also know that their credibility matters more than convincing a wavering 8-year-old that a magical man will be bringing him -- but not any of his Jewish, Muslim, or any other religion friends -- presents.

The news should no more cover Santa's imaginary doings than it should offer up stories from made up sources on the existence of God or the miracles worked by the Hot Fudge Diet.

It's not about being a Scrooge, it's about knowing what's good fun and what's taking things way too far.

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