By CHUCK HINSON
ABC orders reporters to not wear American flag lapel pins, or any other type of patriotic paraphernalia, when on the air stating that they need to be unbiased and remain completely in the gray. What is the next step, to take the flag down flying over the White House?
In a stunning act of unpatriotic behavior, ABC Studios has ordered all desk, field and other reporters that are seen on the air by viewers, to stop wearing any form of the American flag on their lapel, or any other type of American patriotic emblems. Their reasoning for this decision, stated early last week, was it would promote a more unbiased coverage of the news and its reporting of other countries.
Following the shock of those who read the blogs, e-mails and other forms of communication after the ABC execs’ ruling was released, outcries are being heard across the nation and ultimately back in the studios in New York. The brass at ABC began making this “change of fair play” just after the terrorists’ attacks in 2001 and then last week, seven years later, made the announcement.
Top officials at ABC said that when reporters wear American lapel pins, or other symbols of America, especially doing overseas reporting or interviews, it would be promoting America. They said it would be a form of boasting about our freedoms as Americans.
They also went on to say that when a journalist wears anything patriotic, it could put their lives in danger when in a hostile environment. In most people’s mind, they simply say, “Keep those journalists out of those hostile countries and out of harm’s way.”
Does this mean we should be ashamed of our country and proclaim to billions around the world that our men and women gave their life for a stupid and ridiculous cause? Does this mean that we should just be quiet, and the only patriotic thing we can wear would be a pair of boxers or underwear?
This decision by ABC has not only outraged those in the military and those who call themselves patriotic, it has also outraged many journalists that feel that ABC’s decision was asinine and uncalled-for by the studios. And as we all know, the press is the last group of people you want to anger.
Several journalists working with other broadcasting companies, as well as some of ABC’s own journalists, fired back. They said that wearing the American flag on their lapel or wearing a red, white and blue scarf or tie, is not a symbol of the U.S. government, but of America, the country.
Over the past week, television studios have come under fire for not reporting the news in a fair and equal manner. If you watch FOX, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX News, those changes can be visibly seen with several new programs that show, explain and give fair coverage to both sides of an issue. The elections are on the forefront of these new changes.
But does “being fair and unbiased” mean folding up the American flag and shoving it into the drawer? Can we only fly the flag at night in our back yard, with no lights shining on the flag?
In an e-mail that my mother sent me, legendary comedian Red Skelton was giving a concert in the late ’50s and said a surprising last tag line before exiting the stage. He said after having the audience recite the pledge of allegiance. “Would it not be a shame if we ever lost the right to say the pledge of allegiance and be proud of our nation?”
Those words speak even more true today with all the talk of removing the pledge of allegiance, not being able to fly the American flag, and not being able to show any type of patriotism?
Journalists, members of the military, patriotic Americans, and members of the press are asking the viewing public to respond to this decision by ABC and let them know their opinion of this announcement. They further say to wear those lapel pins, red, white and blue ties and scarves and act as if this was Sept. 12, 2001, one day after the terrorists attacked America and we found our patriotism again.