Accuracy in Media

Amid backlash to President Donald Trump’s response to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, the mainstream media handed the president a political victory without realizing it.

According to recent polling, most Americans agree that NFL players should not be allowed to take a knee during the national anthem. Doing so, the president says, is disrespectful to the American flag and to the men and women who have fought for this country. Supporters of the protests say players have every right to kneel for what they see as injustice. Others point out people also have the right to disagree.

Supporters of the protests say players have every right to kneel for what they see as injustice. Others have defended the players’ right to disagree.

Megyn Kelly, who now has a show on NBC, defended the First Amendment rights of all those speaking out on the issue, but her hour on Today largely played it straight when it came to the NFL controversy.

Several outlets, instead of recognizing the right of Trump and his supporters to voice their opinions, used the president’s comments to trash his character, his agenda and the very legitimacy of his presidency.

“It’s Not Every Day That A U.S. President Goes to War with American Sports,” a Sept. 26 headline from Sports Illustrated read. In the article, author S.L. Price said we “should have seen it coming” that Trump would oppose the protests given his comments about women captured on the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape.

Trump “made it obvious that he regards the athletic world as morally bankrupt, and, just as alarming, simplistic,” Price wrote. “To Trump, the thought that players can both love their country and kneel during the national anthem as a means of pointing out social inequity is impossible.”

Newsweek ran a headline on Wednesday that said,“Donald Trump is back to being the least popular president ever after NFL tweets.” Despite embracing a stance supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans, Trump lost ground in the polls, according to Newsweek’s Chris Riotta.

“The decline appears to have started during the weekend, when Trump sparked controversy over his use of Twitter to condemn protests within the NFL against police brutality and racial inequality during televised national anthems at the beginnings of games,” Riotta wrote, without providing any correlation between the drop in the president’s approval numbers and the NFL protests.

Actually, Trump’s approval rating at Rasmussen stands at 43 percent, more or less what it has been for several weeks. Trump has taken heat for other things in this polling period – his response to Puerto Rico, his speech at the UN General Assembly and the crisis involving North Korea.

Then, finally, WJLA-TV reported that Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman responded to Trump, saying, “Just telling you right now, this man is not welcome here in Washington, D.C.” Norman added, I hope he don’t be around when I see him.”

A millionaire NFL player in the nation’s capital wants to ignore the will of American voters and send the president of the United States on his merry way. What Norman failed to recognize is that the same government that gives Norman and others the right to kneel is the same system that elected Trump commander-in-chief.

NFL protesters must either accept that, as Americans, we all have differences in opinion, or come to grips with the alternative: Most of the millions of Americans who watch NFL players every year simply don’t agree with them on this issue.

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  • samo war
  • Alton Gayle

    As far as I’m concerned if you kneel during the National Anthem you should be fired. Don’t watch NFL (No Fans Left) at all, but this has really gotten me mad. Who to these pampered millionaires think they are. I guess when they loose their lucrative sponsor contracts and their high paying boys game jobs they’ll figure out they aren’t that important after all. I was taught in school to say the pledge of allegiance and stand when the National Anthem was played. I was taught to put my hand over my heart and show respect to the flag and anthem of my country. I did this willingly. REMEMBER IN OTHER REPRESSIVE COUNTRIES IF YOU DON’T DO WHAT YOUR TOLD YOU GET SENT TO JAIL OR JUST SHOT.
    People think that the First Amendment gives them the right to free speech that’s partly true. It does give you the right to say what you want but it also gives others the right to disagree with you. So if you’re a public figure (a football player, etc.) and you do something the public doesn’t like and stops spending their hard earned money on your foolishness then that’s your problem. As for me I don’t care about what you’re so called protesting. No matter what it is disrespecting our flag and national anthem is not the way to voice that protest. DO IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA, GIVE AN INTERVIEW TO A REPORTER OR GET OFF YOUR DUFF AND WRITE AN ARTICLE YOURSELF, BUT DON’T DISRESPECT WHAT GENERATIONS OF REAL AMERICANS HAVE DEFENDED FOR OVER 250 YEARS.

  • john robel


  • PrincetonUniversity

    PrincetonUniversity to jwatersphd •

    Self-serving millionaires refuse to stand during our national anthem. They have that right.

    They have that right because countless American men and women stand, and have stood, ready to die for the rights of others.


    jwatersphd to PrincetonUniversity •

    The people who are raising the issue of racism by not standing can hardly be claimed to be doing it because they are “self-serving.” Usually, they are ostracized and greeted with oppobrium; CK does not have a job now. Why is pointing out something egregious and unacceptable, and suffering derision and hatred (encouraged by the President) qualitatively different from “standing” during a war, where you are protecting your country, which isn’t, after all, hard to explain? Incidentally, much of the support for the gesture, which is, after all, peaceful, has come from decorated and heroic military people. As many have pointed out, the treatment of African Americans in the US is “not a game.” If so, why is doing something that ignores it a venerable part of one? If you were part of a systematically and chronically exploited minority, would you enthusiastically sing about “the land of the free?” You seem to be trivializing what’s being done, and, yes, it’s disquieting and perhaps even rude. So were a lot of things that were done during various civil rights movements (not just the Black one). If it’s a “right,” and the message is a valid one, why not just accept it?


    PrincetonUniversity to jwatersphd •


    “If you were part of a systematically and chronically exploited minority, would you enthusiastically sing about ‘the land of the free?”


    As a Jew, I, and my fellow Jews, have suffered persecution in America.

    As a child, I was verbally and physically assaulted for my complicity in deicide. Even at Princeton, there was de facto anti-semitism. But even as a child, I knew that the anger and hatred of which I was the target did not represent what truly was America. And, yes, today I will stand proudly and sing:

    “My country,’ tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing; Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From every mountainside let freedom ring! My native country, thee, Land of the noble free, thy name I love.”


    PrincetonUniversity to jwatersphd

    “CK does not have a job now.” Colin Kaepernick has a net worth of $25 million and annual salary of $19 million. Let us hope he has not squandered his wealth.


    jwatersphd to PrincetonUniversity •

    And what’s your point? That he’s protesting for money?


    PrincetonUniversity to jwatersphd •

    The point is: Ingratitude. As I have written, the motivation is self-serving. The notoriety and publicity received by these players manifests the importance of their ego. This whole charade is self-serving.

    No nation in the history of the world has given so much of its endowment to those in need. Is our tapestry stained? Yes, and many have suffered. The blacks. The Jews. The Irish. The native Americans. The Japanese. et al. But we have done much for many and have made penance. “CK does not have a job now”? Let us hope that he has not squandered his wealth!

    Over 360,000 Union soldiers who fought and died under that “American flag” during America’s Civil War. The players who refuse to honor that flag spit in the face of those who gave their lives.

    These so-called million dollar victims now view America as a racist country after accessing the “American Dream” and living the life few of us (black or white) can only imagine. I say shame. Shame.


    jwatersphd to PrincetonUniversity •

    Well, I guess from your elevated moral position, problems still experienced by others are not real problems. Frankly, though you certainly have a right to claim victimhood, which you proclaim that you have nobly transcended, you sully your attitude towards your fellow man with your presumptuous judgments.


    PrincetonUniversity to jwatersphd •

    Your not very well disguised sarcasm adds nothing to your posting.

    Please do not attempt speak for me. In spite of what you attest, my moral position is not elevated. I am a sinner. I am hardly blind to the fact that the problems experienced by others are quite real and need to be addressed. But they should be addressed with respect. I can assure you that I do not claim victimhood. Like many others in this nation and this world, I have suffered misfortune. But I have also experienced joy and great blessings. And there is nothing noble about my struggle.

    Finally, for any judgments I make, I shall answer to G-d and no other. For Jews, the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe. This is a time for introspection and consideration of sins. If I have harmed others, I ask for forgiveness.


    jwatersphd to PrincetonUniversity •

    I’m not trying to disguise it. Your arrogance is obnoxious, and provocative enough for me to respond to it. Your protestations to “mea culpa” don’t take anything away from that. In fact, they tend to underline your denigration of those who “take a knee,” or genuflect, which, over its history, has been a sign of respect and deference. I don’t know whether you’ve “harmed” anyone, but you seem pretty sure of yourself in your condemnation, assuming you know their motives, and giving little consideration to whether their behavior will have negative or positive effects. And you lend support to those, like Trump, who are bent on exacting punishment. What’s the merit, in your opinion, in introducing a requirement for “patriotism” into attendance at a football game? Or what’s the harm in – I think, arguably – respectfully dissenting? For that matter, aside from racism, are you standing with Trump in suggesting that attention to the brain injuries which new regulations are intended to ameliorate “ruins” the game for which we are expected to express reverence? That we need more damage inflicted rather than less? I don’t know what you’ve got to do with Princeton, but I would expect a bit more reflection and the taking of a broader perspective from someone who seems to identify with an institution of learning than you are, in my opinion, exemplifying. And, having written this, I forgive you for your comments which perhaps you did not recognize were provocative and I think supportive of the worst, not the best, in our society.


    PrincetonUniversity to jwatersphd •

    “Take a knee”, like “gay”, meant different things at different times to different people.

    Today is Yom Kippur. In due course, we shall all be judged. But by
    G-d. Not by gadflies.

    Thank you for your forgiveness.