One thing that used to bug me about Democrats after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was in how so many of them refused to fly the American flag for years because they didn’t want people to mistakenly associate them with supporters of President George W. Bush, who were flying it proudly more than perhaps they ever had in a show of support for the country they loved, as well as our men and women in uniform who were off fighting bravely overseas in response to the attacks.
That “tradition” continued during the Trump years, where Democrats again shied away from overt displays of patriotism, lest someone confuse them for MAGA types.
To some extent we are seeing that again, though in this case it’s not because of who is president but because of what Democrats now associate the U.S. flag with: the January 6th Capitol riot, during which the flag was waved by some in the crowd in support for Trump.
Democrats, of course, aren’t the only ones who view the flag in this way now. Some in the media (who we’ve been reliably informed are “objective” reporters) are also have mixed emotions about the flag, as evidenced by Reuters Congressional reporter Patricia Zengerle, who evidently became triggered at the sight of a “gang” who were waving the stars and stripes in the air near the Capitol:
— Patricia Zengerle (@ReutersZengerle) July 20, 2022
Not surprisingly, Zengerle was widely mocked over her stance:
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) July 20, 2022
Another Twitter user pointed out the one person in the crowd who looked especially “threatening”:
This lady looks extremely threatening 😮😉 pic.twitter.com/jssfE9kGkb
— Vick Vanwinkle III (@Floridadude5) July 20, 2022
“Are you okay? Are you safe?” Jim Treacher asked her.
“Because what could be more frightening than a handful of people waving American flags. The tweet if from a Reuters reporter,” noted veteran Fox News journalist Brit Hume.
Like many people, I’ve dealt with anxiety issues on and off throughout my adult life so I’m not here to make fun of anyone who deals with such issues, but for crying out loud if the sight of the American flag being flown triggers you simply because it reminds you of the Capitol riot, you’ve got more problems than just anxiety.
Further, maybe you shouldn’t be doing “Twitter reporting” on such things, as what happened on January 6th clearly clouded your judgment on being able to report on matters related to the flag – including Americans expressing patriotism – from a neutral perspective.
Ever since that day, we’ve gotten periodic updates from members of the press who were “there” and who have talked about how upsetting it was and how fearful they were to go back to the Capitol in the days and weeks after it was breached. Others who weren’t there but who nevertheless want to express solidarity with their fellow journos have gone so far as to make absurd “worst ever” comparisons, because everything is stupid.
In the heat of the moment when you don’t really know what’s going on, I can understand the fear that some of them must have felt as the situation got out of hand. But if I was in their position, I would ask to be taken off that particular beat if I felt in my gut that I couldn’t cover stories related to the riot or Trump supporters or the American flag objectively. Because it’s just embarrassingly obvious when a reporter can’t remain objective (assuming they were to begin with), and that’s especially the case when they sort of say the quiet part out loud on social media – and that’s true whether they were “there” on the day of the riot or not.