Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The American Flag and the Rules: Fox News Distortion

What’s so terrible about flying the American flag? Nothing, unless someone displays a flag on property where he or she signed an agreement that prohibited doing so.  The story is told again and again. It appears every time there is an instant where a private citizen is facing consequences for flying an American Flag, the Fox News network will sniff out the story and attempt to gin up a sense of outrage that private citizens are being prohibited their right to express their patriotism as if the First Amendment to the Constitution itself is under attack. They’ll trot out distinguish awarded World War Two veterans, purple heart recipients, and other sympathetic characters all of whom have a common refrain that they have sacrificed for their country, and they should be allowed to honor the country for whom they’ve sacrificed.

Hold back on the sympathy and outrage.  In every case, the person protesting flag flying restrictions had either signed a lease or a neighborhood association agreement which indicated what they were doing was restricted. As such, the true outrage is not the outrage for not being allowed to fly the flag but instead anger at getting caught.

When properly displayed, the American flag is source of pride and inspiration to those who appreciate the gifts of American citizenship; however, location is everything. Some cases have involved the display of ghastly large flags as if the bigger the flag is, the more patriotic the intent of the person who displayed it. Some are so large to be tacky and disrespectful.

While there are plenty instances of citizens being unfairly prohibited from flying the American Flag or expressing their religion in public, where people have signed contracts where they have agreed to certain restrictions, ignorance of the agreement is no excuse for non-compliance. There is no ground for real sympathy. Their only course of action is to petition to have the regulations changed.

That Fox News continues to make these episodes hard news sympathetic to those attempting to fly American flags contrary to regulations is hardly fair and balanced reporting. It is advocacy journalism reported on the basis of a false premise. Such reportage doesn’t to anybody any good. It only stirs up emotions on nebulous grounds. If that’s a ploy to hype up ratings shame on them.

Here's an article from Fox News' website that makes our point:


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