....LMB: "This Flag Thing"....

June 26, 2002

Sigh. This is getting out of control, and I'm sure it will only get worse. The Pledge of Allegiance thing. It's the top story on all the newscasts, the topic of debate on pundit arena combat, and already the beginnings of a new electoral strategy by conservatives. And I really resent the fact that I'm going to have to set aside time writing about important issues to clear up this nonsense.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, that serves 9 Western states (California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii)(and, interestingly, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands) made a decision today that the "1954 Act," which added the words "under god" to the Pledge of Allegiance, violated the Establishment Clause of the of the US Constitution, and that therefore forcing kids to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school is therefore unconstitutional as well.

And frankly, it is. The Pledge basically has three parts:

1) pledging allegiance to the flag
2) pledging allegiance to the republic
3) declaring to no one in particular that the US is "under God," "indivisible," and chock-full of justice and liberty.

The "under God" portion is religious. We all know that it refers to the Christian god, although supporters argue that it doesn't specifically say. I suppose there are many ways you could interpret "one nation, under God," to me it seems to mean that the nation is being watched by God, or is the only nation recognized by God, or that the laws of the republic are subservient to the laws of God. Requiring kids to make this statement about the relationship between the state and God seems to be religious, which therefore violates the Establishment Clause.

Of course, the spin of the media-politician nexus doesn't appear to be "one of thirteen Federal Circuit courts has found that forcing kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance violates the separation of Church and State." Focusing on the controversy and potential outrage, their spin is more like "the Supreme Court says that its wrong to be American." And many folks do not, and will not ever believe the facts to be otherwise.

(it's also amusing to note that the original Pledge was written by a socialist, one of the political factions most widely hated by folks who think the Pledge is keen)

I always found it pretty ridiculous that American schools forced kids to take a loyalty oath every morning. To a piece of striped cloth ("Hail to thee, poly-cotton blend, I am thy servant! Command me, and thy will be done!"). Once I gave the issue some thought in school, I stopped saying the Pledge. Not out of anti-Americanism, or defiance, but because I didn't see the point. I still don't.

I think some conservatives are arguing that we need kids to say the Pledge because they need to learn about patriotism and loyalty to their nation. Saying a bunch of words by rote because someone tells you to does not instill such values.

But I'll bet you already knew that.

Posted by Jake at 08:37 PM

Yes, add scenes of rapt students adoringly reciting the pledge of allegience to the flag waving "lets roll over them foreign terrorists" and "My opponent is the next best thing to a sympathizer with America's enemies"

Posted by: Michael Webb at June 27, 2002 02:06 AM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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