Fox News' flag desecration hypocrisy

Expressing outrage that a video showing a “defaced flag” with “graffiti splattered all over it” is a finalist in a Democratic National Committee contest, Fox News and Sean Hannity ignored desecration of the flag by Fox News' own Glenn Beck, with Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin declaring that “the defacing of the flag, of course, is well within the mainstream of far-left propaganda tactics.” President Bush also previously defaced a U.S. flag.

Fox News attacks DNC, “far left,” and “Obama's campaign arm” for “American flag splattered with graffiti”

Hannity: “They have -- you know, Barack Obama's campaign arm ... they got the American flag splattered with graffiti.” On the October 28 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity cited a article that reported, “One of the 20 finalists in health care video contest run by Barack Obama's campaign arm features a mural of an America flag splattered with health care graffiti until it's covered completely by black paint.” [Hannity, 10/28/09]

Malkin: "[T]he defacing of the flag, of course, is well within the mainstream of far-left propaganda tactics." After Hannity played the video, Malkin stated:

Well, I've been following this health care reform contest, and I'm not surprised. This video was produced by someone who bills himself as the king of graffiti in Los Angeles. And this is where they turn for their agitprop and their propaganda. It's all about emotion. It's all about tarring and feathering the opponents of a government health care takeover as somehow unpatriotic. And the defacing of the flag, of course, is well within the mainstream of far-left propaganda tactics. [Hannity, 10/28/09 (retrieved from the Nexis database)] “DNC Uses Flag Desecration Video to Raise Funds.” A article headlined “DNC uses flag desecration video to raise funds” quoted conservative radio host Armstrong Williams claiming, “I think that most Americans no matter what their political persuasion is will find this pretty obscene and pretty shocking.” The article further reported, “Williams said it was a bad message to send for the DNC to give 'energy and credibility' to an artist desecrating the flag.”

Fox Nation: 'Defaced Flag' Is Finalist In DNC Health Care Contest. used the following graphic and headline to link to the article:

But Beck, Bush also defaced U.S. flags

Beck wipes stars from U.S. flag onto his studio floor, replaces them with logos of corporations, organizations. On his July 30 Fox News show, Beck stated that the stars on the U.S. flag “used to represent the states” but they now represent the Service Employees International Union, Wal-Mart, General Electric, General Motors, CitiBank, and ACORN, which he said were “the new people that we're really representing in America.” After stating that “I think we should replace all of the stars” on the U.S. flag, Beck wiped the stars from the flag onto the floor of his studio and replaced them with the logos of the six organizations he mentioned. He then stated: “We should stop calling it a flag. We should just start calling it the logo of our nation.” [Glenn Beck, 7/30/09]

Beck wipes stars from U.S. flag to protest their inattention to “state rights.” On his Fox News show, after removing four stars from a U.S. flag -- including a star he said represented Delaware “because Joe Biden pisses me off” -- Beck wiped all the stars from the flag, with many of them falling onto his studio floor. He replaced only the star representing Alaska and said he also would do so for Tennessee, suggesting that only those two states were “serious about state rights and that pesky little thing called the Constitution.” [Glenn Beck, 7/23/09]

Bush signed flag at a 2003 rally in Michigan. As Media Matters previously noted, according to an August 26, 2003, “White House Notebook” column by Dana Milbank in The Washington Post (retrieved from the Nexis database), Bush “went on a brief foray into the criminal underworld last month in Livonia, Mich., where he ran afoul of U.S. Code Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8 (g): 'The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.' The transgression occurred when President Bush, on a July 24 visit to Beaver Aerospace & Defense Inc., accepted a request to sign a well-wisher's U.S. flag.”

An August 4, 2003, Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial opined of the event (from Nexis):

Conservative radio talk shows are bemoaning the fact that some Americans take exception to Old Glory being used as an autograph pad.

For an administration that embraces the idea of a constitutional amendment prohibiting the desecration of the flag, perhaps signing one with an indelible Sharpie wasn't a terrific idea.

Just imagine the uproar from the chattering classes had President Clinton been captured on Kodachrome doing the same thing.

A photo from the event:

Zachary Pleat is an intern at Media Matters for America.