Accuracy in Media

On July 5th, after America had just celebrated Independence Day, Cokie Roberts of ABC News led a much-needed discussion on the Sunday show “This Week With Sam and Cokie” about news organizations making big errors in their coverage. Much of the attention was focused on the disgraceful and obscene smear of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam supposedly using nerve gas while hunting down American “defectors” from the war effort.

But Roberts herself committed a gaffe when the topic became a pending Constitutional amendment to protect the American flag. “Flag desecration is something hard to describe,” said Roberts. “I was at a Fourth of July parade yesterday at Pauley’s Island, South Carolina, and the amount of flag-wearing in various interesting parts of the body did make me wonder if all these good God-fearing Americans would be in jail if the flag-burning amendment was passed.”

Roberts apparently doesn’t realize that the proposed amendment is designed to outlaw burning, defecating or urinating on the flag. The text of the amendment is short and precise. It says that “Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” Why are the media making such absurd claims?

It seems as if some people are determined to make the American flag “safe” for burning and desecration by a crude assortment of oddballs, Marxists and anti-American fanatics. But why should we as a nation permit our national symbol to be trashed by such people? Admittedly, we can’t do anything about Muslim fanatics in Iran or Iraq burning Old Glory, but can’t we protect our own flag within the borders of our own country? This is the issue, and it has nothing to do with flags and clothing.

Adding to Roberts’ misinterpretation of the amendment, ABC panelist and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos piped in, saying that a pending Senate vote on the amendment was a demonstration of how “the far right wing of the Republican party is ready to come back around election time and energize their base.” Far right? Stephanopoulos is apparently unaware of the fact that the leading organization behind the amendment is the American Legion, the veterans organization. Does Stephanopoulos consider the Legion to be “far-right?” If so, he has smeared a group of people who have served their country, protecting the freedom which allows people like Stephanopoulos to stick his foot in his mouth.

He should have been asked to explain why his former boss, President Bill Clinton, had once promised to support a bill to protect the flag and then changed his position. It was similar to his flip-flops on others issues. For example, Clinton once condemned the rulers in China as butchers; now he’s making deals with them and taking their money. He also violated a promise not to normalize relations with Communist Vietnam until there was a full accounting of our missing in action from the Vietnam. We’ll have more on this in our next broadcast.

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