Yesterday I went to the protest at the WW2 Memorial to try and grab some interviews for ON THE RECORD at 7pm (and I was successful! I got Senators Cruz and Lee and Governor Palin.)
Since leaving the protest, I have read that there were Confederate flags displayed. Just to set the record straight, while I was there, I saw one Confederate flag (and I looked to see if there were others. I could have missed others, but I looked around while I was there with the specific goal to count the flags.) I saw ONE flag carried by one person…and that was ONE TOO MANY. It is also true that others were standing near that person in the crown (and not appearing to show any displeasure….but I have no way of knowing their thoughts, views etc.)
NOTE: DISPLAYING EVEN ONE CONFEDERATE FLAG IS WRONG and the PERSON WHO DISPLAYED it is/was indecent. Any supporters of that person are likewise indecent to be part of it. And yes, regrettably, but under our Constitution, one does have the right to be indecent. The rest of us should condemn the indecent conduct.
However, it is important to be fair and respect the exercise of First Amendment rights of those who did NOT display it, or probably NEVER SAW it and were not part of it. There were many, many in that category – they were simply at the Memorial to express dissatisfaction with our government. We should not accuse the innocent protestors of being part of displaying a hateful symbol when they were not. Protests attract very large groups of people and the exercise of their First Amendment right can be poisoned by spoilers….in this instance, at least one person attempted to do just that.
We in the media should also be careful not to overstate what happened or happens at protests….we should stick to the facts. If there were flags, of course say flags. If there was only one flag, don’t overstate it and make it plural. Video and pictures can now tell us today whether there was more than one. There could have been more but I looked around and I only saw one in a large crowd.
When one deviates from the facts, and embellishes even inadvertently, one runs the risk of conveying a situation very different from reality.
Many were at the WW2 for a peaceful Constitutional protest of their government.
PS – as an aside, when I see the Confederate flag I always wonder, is that person ignorant of history or mean?