Congress, Tea Party, Town hall meetings

No news is faux (Fox) news

I was toodling around the Fox News web site the other day when I came across this headline: “Dem Derided for Laughing at Pledge of Allegiance”. Hmm, I thought. What could this be? Who is this Dem who would dare mock the Pledge of Allegiance? Does he truly hate this country and all it stands for and who, I wondered, is deriding him? I clicked the link and read the article.          

As is often the case on Fox News, when you dig a little deeper you find that the story is much more benign than the attention grabbing headline. Here’s the video so you can judge for yourself what really happened:          

          

First of all, the person who stood up and rudely interrupted the meeting is intentionally misleading when he says “Can we start this meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance?” The meeting was already underway. But viewers of his edited video won’t know that. Second, he says that he is there with  “Ari David for Congress”.  Sitting next to him was Ari David, a former stand-up comic who is a conservative candidate to replace Henry Waxman.       

Ari David with surgically attached flag

 

Here you have someone standing up in the middle of a meeting, representing a stand-up comic and requesting that they stop everything to recite the Pledge of Allegiance like they were in grade school. You can tell by the crowd’s reaction that at first they thought he was joking.  They realized he was serious within about two seconds and readily agreed to his request with Congressman Becerra nodding to the moderator to proceed with the Pledge. They even let the interrupter lead the group.          

There are so many issues in this brief video. Are we becoming a nation where we have to prove our patriotism and stand up and recite the Pledge whenever someone in a crowd requests it? Look how everyone has to stop what they are doing to turn around, salute the flag and prove their loyalty to this stranger (while being filmed by the way). Will we have to start doing it if someone requests it at weddings, funerals , business meetings? Is this true patriotism?          

The person “deriding”  Congressman Becerra is none other than Ari David himself, the man who set up this whole stunt. That’s news? That the person who set the whole thing up is now making partisan hay of what is really nothing? On David’s web site he says one of the main reasons he is running is that “The very nature of personal freedom is at stake.” Hey Ari, how about the personal freedom of people trying to conduct a meeting without being filmed and forced to prove to you their loyalty and patriotism?          

Have we come to an Orwellian stage where we film our fellow citizens and then goad them to stand up at any moment to prove their loyalty to the flag? This is the type of behavior that one sees in totalitarian states.  In North Korea citizens are required to wear a pin with a picture of their Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.  Roving loyalty enforcement brigades inspect these pins and will arrest the person if the picture is even a bit worn out. Enforced loyalty is no loyalty.          

Fox’ tagline, “Fair & Balanced”, reminds me of the state-run newspaper in the old Soviet Union, Pravda. Which of course is the Russian word for “truth”. (For those of you who refer to the “mainstream media” in the U.S. as the “state-run media” I suggest a little history lesson is in order.)         

Russian peasants reading Pravda or "The Truth"

 

They say it's "Fair & Balanced" so it must be true

 

Pravda was anything but truthful and in a modern parallel Fox News is anything but “Fair & Balanced”. While most Fox viewers believe that they are, I suspect that in the old Soviet days most of their citizens could see through the “Pravda” ruse. Shame on Fox News for making this appear to be the case of an unpatriotic congressman when they should know better. If they don’t, then that is truly scary.     

Update 2/25/2010     

After an irate citizen flew his private plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas, killing one person, it has been reported that Steve King (R-IA) spoke at CPAC and empathized with the killer pilot. We are still waiting for independent verification of his remarks but this story is being covered by the Iowa Independent: King empathizes with IRS suicide pilot « Iowa Independent      

So far nothing can be found on the Fox News web site about a member of the United States Congress advocating domestic terrorism. Good thing it wasn’t Congressman Becerra.

About Michael

This blog has a mix of some of my main interests in life: travel, politics, food and generally being a curmudgeon. Enjoy.

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