Couric, Lauer, Brokaw, Koppel have Long Voiced Concerns about ‘Arrogant Nationalism

They’ve been whining about it long before NFL players.

Most of the nation is upset with the millionaire crybabies in the NFL who continue disrespecting the United States, but in reality, journalists were first across that finish line. Newsbusters scoured the archives and unearthed many reminders from the likes of Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw, Ted Koppel, and others, that they, too, aren’t as patriotic as they’d like us all to believe.

In early 2002, as the nation still grieved the Islamic terror attacks of 9/11 but was united as one patriotic America, Couric was lecturing the director of the Salt Lake Olympics on NBC about how displaying too much patriotism could be interpreted as obnoxious:

“Obviously, the opening ceremony — the games themselves — will be very patriotic in feel. And yet sometimes the international community can interpret that as arrogant nationalism. Obviously, you’ve gotta balance those two things. Are you all — clearly you’re mindful of that. How are you, how are you going to do that?”

NBC’s Lauer said something very similar the day prior when he spoke to the U.S. Olympic committee president:

“You are expecting a greater wave of patriotism here in the United States, in this particular time [9/11], than other countries have shown when they’ve hosted the games… But we have to also be careful and draw a line not to let our patriotism get in the way of the games in general.”

ABC News’s Ted Koppel issued this proclamation about his job just one month after the 2001 attacks:

“I don’t believe that I’m being a particularly patriotic American by slapping a little flag in my lapel and then saying anything that is said by any member of the U.S. government is going to get on without comment and anything that is said by someone from the enemy is immediately going to be put through a meat grinder of analysis. Our job is to put it all through the meat grinder of analysis.”

Just weeks after 9/11, NBC News’s Brokaw explained that he would in no way wear a lapel pin of the flag, lest he appear pro-war or pro-Bush:

“I’m a patriot...[but] I don’t think a journalist ought to be wearing a flag because it does seem to be, to me at least, a sign of solidarity toward whatever the government is doing, and that is not our role.”

Ten months later, Brokaw “impressed” Phil Donahue because he refused to wear a flag pin.

“I wear a flag in my heart, but I think if you wear a flag, it’s a suggestion somehow that you’re endorsing what the administration is doing at the time, and I don’t think journalists ought to be wearing flags,” Brokaw said.

“Well, I don’t want to damn you with my praise, but I say hip-hip-hooray for that!” Donahue responded predictably.

In 2007, Couric appeared on the Kalb Report on C-SPAN2 and was still talking about her discomfort with supporting her country:

“You know, the whole culture of wearing flags on your lapel and saying ‘we’ when you were referring to the United States, which, and, and, you know, even the ‘shock and awe’ in the initial stages, it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable....Anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic.”

Some of the more hateful rhetoric toward the flag has come from the mouth of PBS’s Bill Moyers. In 2003, he said:

“I decided to put on my flag pin tonight...I put it on to take it back. The flag’s been hijacked and turned into a logo the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and during the State of the Union did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag?...When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao’s Little Red Book on every officials desk, omnipresent and unread....More galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American....I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us.” 

Ten years later, Moyers ramped it up, calling the Pledge of Allegiance “a whopper of a lie:”

“The next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance...remember: It’s a lie. A whopper of a lie. We coax it from the mouths of babes for the same reason our politicians wear those flag pins in their lapels – it makes the hypocrisy go down easier, the way aspirin helps a headache go away...‘Justice for all’ is a line item in the budget, sequestered now by the Paul Ryans of Congress and the fix-the-debt gang of plutocratic CEOs who, with a wink-wink from our President, claim, ‘Oh, we can’t afford that!’ Of the $146 billion spent every year on criminal justice in this country, only two to three percent goes to defend the poor. Of 97 countries, we rank 68th in access to and affordability of civil legal service. No, we can’t afford it, but just a decade ago we started shelling out $2.2 trillion for a war in Iraq born of fraud.”

Head over to Newsbusters for even more examples and video evidence.

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