December 23, 2006

Weekend Question 2: What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 3)

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,TWUQs — Tom @ 12:28 pm

Last year, I sensed that journalists in general prefer to call this time of the year in commerce that of “holiday shopping” instead of “Christmas shopping,” but that when it came to people losing their jobs, they preferred to describe layoffs as relating to “Christmas.”

My instincts were proven correct, as you can see below from the results of three different sets of Google News searches in November and December (links to last year’s related posts are here, here, and here):

ChristmasSearch2005Results

I’ve decided to track the same items this year to see if there is any noticeable change or trend.

Here are all three sets of Google News searches during this Christmas season, compared to last year (the Dec. 22, 2006 searches were done at about noon; the posts on the previous two searches are here and here):

ChristmasSearchVeryTermsFnl_06v05

Wal-Mart, Macy’s, and others may be embracing “Christmas” as a permissible word again, but reporting about shopping during the 2006 Christmas season still leans overwhelmingly towards “holiday shopping.” As to layoffs, their association with “Christmas” has gone down a bit in the past year, and actually dropped off in the final pre-Christmas search, where the tendency to associate Christmas with layoffs was 2-1/2 times greater than the association with shopping (down from about 3-1/2 times as often in the last search a year ago).

Still, what I concluded at the end of last year (with minor editing) was again proven to be true in 2006:

It seems beyond dispute that there is a strong bias against using the word “Christmas” to describe not only the shopping season, as noted above, but also events, parades, and festivals that happen during the Christmas season. There is, however, a bit of an exception — “Christmas” is a word that is much more acceptable to use when “Scrooge” employers are letting people go.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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Previous Posts:
Dec. 9, 2006 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 2)
Nov. 26, 2006 — What Time of Year Is It? (Year 2 Follow-up, Part 1)
Nov. 11, 2006 — Will Christmas Be a Four-Letter Word This Year?
Dec. 22, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year (UPDATE 2)
Dec. 7, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year (UPDATE)
Nov. 29, 2005 — What Time of Year Is It?
Nov. 23, 2005 — When You Can Say What at This Time of Year

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