"While I sat at my laptop, most of the reporters around me stood and put their hands over their hearts. This time instead of just sitting and working, I tweeted what I was feeling."
So wrote NPR White House correspondent Ari Shapiro Tuesday about refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance or stand for the national anthem at the beginning of a Mitt Romney campaign event the previous day.
As a reporter I'm torn about joining in the pledge of allegiance/national anthem at rallies. I'm a rally observer, not a participant.— Ari Shapiro (@Ari_Shapiro) September 10, 2012
Yet most reporters around me stand for the anthem & pledge. I'm one of the few that doesn't. Setting myself up for accusations I guess.— Ari Shapiro (@Ari_Shapiro) September 10, 2012
Shapiro then engaged in what he called "a thoughtful Twitter dialogue unfolded about what it means to be a journalist, what it means to be American, and what role the Pledge of Allegiance plays in our society."
Then Shapiro got a little instant karma:
As it happens, Romney is now starting an anecdote about the importance the pledge of allegiance and the promises it contains. #timely— Ari Shapiro (@Ari_Shapiro) September 10, 2012
He's taking each line of the pledge and using it to make a political point. "Under God," "indivisible," etc.— Ari Shapiro (@Ari_Shapiro) September 10, 2012
Shapiro in my view was making an odd point: as a journalist, he shouldn't say the pledge or stand for the national anthem at campaign events because it would somehow diminish his objectivity.
But isn't that the moment at such events that isn't political? Isn't that the time when we're all just Americans instead of Democrats and Republicans?
That's when all stand together as one regardless of profession or ideology.
I wonder if Shapiro would have stood for former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) when she walked onto the stage at last week's Democratic National Convention to lead the gathering in the Pledge.
(HT NB reader Jabron Kirby)