Trump Fails to Criticize the Patriotism of TV Networks for Cutting Away During the National Anthem
(Note: this post was originally written 8-20-18)
A short paragraph in a recent New York Times story about television coverage of the NFL players’ protests caught my eye. On August 17, in a story by Ken Belson headlined “ESPN Won’t Show National Anthem Before Monday Night Football Games,” the following appeared:
“In the past, most networks typically went to commercial while the anthem was being played. But in the past two seasons, they have at times showed the anthem because it was newsworthy.”
Okay, so let’s get this straight. Donald Trump continues to use the office of the presidency to criticize publicly the players who have been taking a knee to call attention to police shootings of unarmed African-American men and boys. Trump’s main line of attack is that the non-violent, symbolic protests are disrespectful to the troops and military veterans, who fight and have fought to defend the country and its symbols.
But Trump has remained silent about the longstanding practice of television networks that broadcast NFL games cutting to commercial when the anthem is played.
Has Trump ever called out the big media companies and their advertisers for disrespecting the troops by prioritizing the broadcasting of ads for trucks and beer over respect for the military? Where is the patriotism of the mega-corporations that advertise their products during football games?
Why single out the players for condemnation, when the teams and league they play for are complicit in disrespecting the flag by chasing advertisers’ dollars?
It bears repeating every time this subject comes up that whether or not players kneel during the anthem has nothing to do with the military; many military members and veterans have remarked that they fought to preserve such things as the fundamental right, in a democratic society, to engage in non-violent, peaceful protest.
The idea that the kneeling is a knock on veterans is a diversionary tactic straight out of the right-wing propaganda playbook. The goal is to shift attention off of persistent societal racism and onto more conservative-friendly terrain about patriotism and loyalty to country. To a certain extent, the tactic has worked.
But as long as pundits in political and sports media continue to report that some some people think it’s hurtful to the military for players to take a knee, they should also continue to remind people that the networks routinely cut to commercial during the national anthem, which some people feel is a slap in the face to the military.
To the president’s defenders who deny his racism, and instead claim that Trump is an equal opportunity offender who goes after everyone, when do you think the president will go after the TV networks for putting advertising profits over patriotism?