So Sen. Barack Obama has pulled a Bill Moyers -- shunning U.S. flag lapel pins over political disagreements with the Bush administration -- and Time's Joe Klein applauds the move. After all, the Bush White House, according to Klein is an "administration that endorsed the troglyditic religious views of Christian fundamentalist mullahs," among other nasty un-liberal things. Klein huffs to his conclusion about the "Phony Issue of the Day":
I adore this country and abhor those, especially those lucky enough to live here, who don't. But to the extent that wearing an American flag lapel pin could be misconstrued as support for the most disgraceful administration in my lifetime, perhaps in American history, I can certainly understand why Barack Obama had reservations about it.
Well, to be fair, Obama is following the lead of American journalistic enterprises and personalities that quickly tired of the show of patriotism post-9/11. Here's Bill Moyers from Feb. 28, 2003, weeks before the first shot was fired in the Iraq War:
Bill Moyers sported flag lapel pin on Friday night's Now on PBS, not to proclaim his patriotism and/or pride in the U.S., but to "take" the flag "back" which has been "hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism." Citing how President Bush and Vice President Cheney wear flag lapel pins, Moyers was reminded of communism: "When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little Red Book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread."
While Moyers' decision was voluntary, other news agencies made the choice for journalists. Post-9/11, ABC banned anchors and reporters from wearing U.S. flag lapel pins, something that some patriotic liberal journalists like Cokie Roberts circumvented creatively:
Cokie Roberts gets around the ABC News ban on flag pins by wearing an eagle, she pointed out to David Letterman on Wednesday's Late Show on CBS. She also joked about how a terrorist may have targeted the "American Media" building because "the guy thought he had hit the jackpot. Everybody's right there, the whole American media."Asked by Letterman about ABC's ban on flag pins being based on the argument doing so would inhibit objectivity, she defended the policy, but showed how she gets around it: "Since there is a debate about it ABC has decided that we shouldn't be wearing flags, so I wear an eagle."Indeed, she was wearing and eagle-shaped ornament on her lapel. She suggested that for journalists, "the patriotic thing to do is ask questions."Referring to the Anthrax cases at the building in Florida which houses the company which publishes The Star and National Enquirer, American Media, Roberts joked: "When I saw the first case, I was just watching it on TV and saw the building and the building has this big sign on it that says, ‘American Media.' So I thought, well of course. The guy thought he had hit the jackpot. Everybody's right there, the whole American media."I'll let that joke stand on its own.