At this time of year, regular as clockwork, comes a piece in the Melbourne Age, often concocted by someone from the London Guardian that is full of the usual bias against Israel and which tells some real whoppers about settlements, walls and restriction of movement in and around the birthplace of Jesus.
This year is no exception. We were served up with the usual tripe from Al Guardian's Phoebe Greenwood with the usual one-sided story that exaggerates every aspect of a narrative told from one side only - complete with the views of an Israeli anti-government Peace Now activist but no true mainstream Israeli perspective - Christmas spirit crushed in besieged Bethlehem
Greenwood's opening gambit demonstrates how problematic it is when a reporter engages in producing propaganda for one side in a conflict.
Quoting a local parish priest Greenwood tells her readers that "if Joseph and Mary were making their way to Bethlehem today, the Christmas story would be a little different."
"The couple would struggle to get into the city, let alone find a place to stay.
''If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed.''
Since Joseph and Mary were Jewish, I would say there's a fair chance that if they were heading to Bethlehem today, they might not only struggle to get into the town; they might struggle to survive the experience.
But a minor little fact like that wouldn't deter the Age or get in the way of their sordid storytelling.
Elsewhere in the same newspaper there was a little puff piece that glancingly covers a very real issue for Christians, not only in Bethlehem but throughout the Middle East where they form a minority in Muslim areas. Things are different in Israel where Christianity is thriving but Al Guardian and Al Age won't deliver that story to you at any time soon.
Bethlehem itself once had a Christian majority but its population is dwindling rapidly. The situation is such that one day, nobody living in the place will care about those three Jews, Joseph and Mary and baby Jesus. I wonder what the folks at Fairfax will have to say about that!