MANUFACTURED NONSENSE: A CASE STUDY…. It’s always impressive to see the evolution of a “controversy,” from Republican media on up.

Fox News today slammed President Obama for not issuing a proclamation acknowledging Easter. (Somehow, Christians managed to hear about the holiday anyway.) Conservative activists quickly followed suit, probably unaware of the fact that Bush and Reagan didn’t issue Easter proclamations, either.

It’s a garbage story, even by the standards of GOP media, but sure enough, the question came up during today’s White House press briefing. Press Secretary Jay Carney quite literally laughed at the question — which was the appropriate response — but another reporter pressed further.

“I’m glad you’re asking these key, important questions, guys,” Carney said, before explaining that the First Family celebrated Easter by attending church services yesterday.

Substantively, the story is nothing short of pathetic. President Obama hosted an Easter prayer breakfast; the Obamas attended Easter services; and the White House hosted a big Easter Egg Roll for families today. No proclamation was issued, but no other modern presidents — from either party — have issued Easter proclamations, either.

But Fox News gets the ball rolling with a cheap shot, and within hours, it’s in the White House briefing room, with the president’s chief spokesperson being pressed for an explanation.

How very sad.

Update: Oh, look, Politico has a story, too.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.