For most Americans, the Fourth of July is an occasion to remember how remarkable America is, and to celebrate the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in establishing a nation where freedom is the order of the day. But over the years, the Media Research Center has caught journalists using Independence Day as an occasion for scorn and condemnation. Here are a few examples, drawn from MRC's Notable Quotables newsletter:
Hope You Had A Happy Fourth of July, Too
"Oh say, we've seen too much. The Star-Spangled Banner pushes like a cough through America's mouth and the twilight's last gleaming is just that, a sickly flash above our heads as we ride unsuspecting in the bellies of sleek trains, plop to our knees in churches, embracing truths that disgust us."
— Boston Globe arts critic and "poet" Patricia Smith in The Nation's "Patriotism" issue, July 15/22, 1991.
"So as you've celebrated yet another Independence Day, as you've toasted the great victory in Iraq one more time, as you've marveled at the success of the $4.4 million tanks (88 times costlier than their World War II counterparts) and the $28 million bombers and the $106 million Stealth fighters, you might also think for a moment about how some - just some - of the $880 billion the world put out for the military last year might have otherwise been spent. On things like health. And the environment. And education."
— NBC News President Michael Gartner in a USA Today column, July 9, 1991.
Happy Independence Day, America Sucks
"We know what July 4th is. What about July 5th? After the fireworks, the music, the rhetoric of freedom what then?...What kind of nation does our flag fly over now? Not a less innocent one, because American innocence was never the truth. Not one less reluctant to go to war without a good reason, because we have foolishly credited bad reasons in the past. But now the nation lacks even that. As our President demonstrated last week, we have become a people who wage unending war killing and maiming our young ones and theirs without being remotely able to say why."
— Columnist James Carroll in the July 5, 2005 Boston Globe.
"We hear the stories of discrimination in education and housing and jobs all the time. We hear the violence between races. Do you think it's possible that America is simply an inherently racist place?"
— Today substitute co-host Matt Lauer, July 4, 1994.
Hearing Echoes of Joe McCarthy
"George Bush campaigned in a flag factory during his 1988 presidential run against Michael Dukakis. Bush was blasting Dukakis back then as 'a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union.' A faint echo of the late Joseph McCarthy's 'card-carrying member of the Communist Party,' but it seemed to help Bush."
— Reporter Bruce Morton in a 4th of July retrospective on CNN's Late Edition, July 4, 1999.
Let's Shred the Constitution!
"The framers were not gods and were not infallible. Yes, they gave us, and the world, a blueprint for the protection of democratic freedoms — freedom of speech, assembly, religion — but they also gave us the idea that a black person was three-fifths of a human being, that women were not allowed to vote and that South Dakota should have the same number of Senators as California, which is kind of crazy....If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn't say so."
— Time managing editor Richard Stengel in the magazine's July 4, 2011 edition, which featured a picture of the U.S. Constitution going through a shredder with the headline, "Does It Still Matter?"