CNN's Dobbs Blasts Couric and Moyers Over Patriotism

On Monday’s "Lou Dobbs Tonight," host Lou Dobbs took aim at Katie Couric and Bill Moyers for "silly public statements" they’ve made regarding the practice of wearing an American flag lapel pin. "CBS's Katie Couric, of all people, taking exception to an American journalist saying 'we,' when referring to the United States.... I'm sorry, Katie Couric, but who could possibly be offended by acknowledging those troops who have sacrificed so much for us and ours?... PBS's Bill Moyers says the flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo, the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. Oh, please, Bill Moyers, you're too smart for this kind of babble."

Dobbs’s comments, which came about 45 minutes into the 6 pm Eastern hour of his program, occurred on his second day back after an extended absence due to a tonsillectomy. It was during this absence that the Washington Examiner reported that Couric expressed her discomfort over the "whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying ‘we’ when referring to the United States" after 9/11. (For much more on Couric's September 25 comments at the National Press Club, check this MRC CyberAlert.) After his criticism of Couric, Dobbs mentioned Barack Obama’s decision to not wear such a lapel pin.

But Dobbs reserved his strongest words for Moyers, and cited the PBS host’s words from 2003. "PBS's Bill Moyers says the flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo, the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. Oh, please, Bill Moyers, you're too smart for this kind of babble." (For a streaming Real video clip of the February 28, 2003 rant from Moyers, check the MRC's 2004 "DisHonors Awards." Scroll down a bit on this page.)

After this attack on Moyers, Dobbs’s concluding words included a rebuke of all journalists who choose not to wear an American flag pin for reasons of "neutrality" and "objectivity." "If others -- and journalists, certainly, by some tortured reasoning -- believe the absence of the pin suggests neutrality, and that gives them the pretense of objectivity, let me assure you, you couldn't be more wrong."

The full transcript of Dobbs’s commentary from Tuesday’s "Lou Dobbs Tonight:"

Lunacy among our public figures in this country certainly didn't subside over the weeks that I've been away from this broadcast. I've been no less than astounded, in fact, by the incongruity, the contradiction, the specious and silly public statements by some of our public and political figures over something like a flag pin worn on one's lapel, like this one that I wear on my lapel. I started wearing this lapel pin, by the way, after September 11th. I did so out of respect for those killed in the terrorist attacks, and in recognition of this country's war on radical Islamist terror.

It turns out that some journalists and some presidential candidates are actually upset about flags on lapels. And over the past few weeks, they have actually adopted some rather superior and supercilious views on the subject. For example, CBS's Katie Couric, of all people, taking exception to an American journalist saying 'we,' when referring to the United States -- or as I say each night on this broadcast, our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm sorry, Katie Couric, but who could possibly be offended by acknowledging those troops who have sacrificed so much for us and ours? Senator Barack Obama has decided not to wear a flag pin on his lapel. Senator Obama says his words will be a testament to his patriotism. That's fine. PBS's Bill Moyers says the flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo, the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. Oh, please, Bill Moyers, you're too smart for this kind of babble.

All of you, please stop the nonsense -- liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. Wear our flag proudly on your lapel or not. But for crying out loud, what is there in each of you that cannot support others wearing it proudly out of respect for the values this flag stands for, and America's national values -- freedom of choice among those values. I choose to wear this pin on my lapel. But if others -- and journalists, certainly, by some tortured reasoning -- believe the absence of the pin suggests neutrality, and that gives them the pretense of objectivity, let me assure you, you couldn't be more wrong. And politicians of any political party on any part of the political and ideological spectrum who believe their words could ever rise to the level of the national values this flag represents are sadly arrogant and horribly mistaken. And no one who does wear this flag, for whatever reason, should ever confuse support for this flag as an adequate expression of patriotism for this nation. True patriotism requires far more.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center