Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
Latest posts by Jim Lakely (see all)
Even for MSNBC — which obsesses over Sarah Palin’s every word and movement and casts them in the worst-possible light— this is more than a bit pathetic.
Martin Bashir, who gained fame in America by interviewing Michael Jackson and gained infamy by having his hat handed to him by Andrew Breitbart, closed some show he has on MSNBC the other day with what has to be the most silly attack on Palin yet.
As summarized by RealClearPolitics, the citizen of Great Britain makes a fool of himself by peppering a routine yawner of a Palin Bash with an embarrassing misunderstanding of not only federal law, but what even a Boy Scout would consider an acceptable use of American flag imagery.
Bashir starts off with a sarcastic assessment of Palin’s stated purpose for her bus tour — “to express to American how much we appreciate our foundation and to invite more people to be interested about all that is good about America” — and falls off the Cliffs of Insanity.
It all sounds like a wonderful commitment to American values and American history, but it’s nothing of the kind. In fact, the whole thing could be in breach of a federal law because the United States Flag Code establishes important rules for the use and display of the stars and stripes, the flag of the United States. Under standards of respect and etiquette, it’s made clear that the flag of the United States should never be used for any advertising purpose whatsoever. Yet that’s precisely what Sarah Palin is doing. She’s using the flag of the United States for her own financial purposes.
She drapes herself in the stars and stripes and makes millions of dollars in the process. This has got nothing to do with the presidency and everything to do with filling her pockets. And by raising her profile, she raises her income. It is as simple as that. So she was right when she said that hers is not a campaign bus. It’s a cash bus and she’ll keep it rolling for as long as she can. Thanks so much for watching.
Let’s put aside the blinding speed at which Bashir went from a possible “breach of a federal law” to the more benign “standards of respect and etiquette.” Actually, let’s not.
You can burn the American flag in this country without penalty. In fact, lefties like Bashir believe it’s one of the greatest forms of protest in America and a celebration of our unique First Amendment. Yet plastering the image of a waving Stars and Stripes on the side of a bus is a possible crime? Only if you’re Sarah Palin, and MSNBC is annoyed at the attention you’re getting and the money you make. (If you’re Barack Obama outfitting the Hope & Change Express … wave on, flag iconography!)
On a more basic level: Has this guy never seen a “Fourth of July Sale” flier in … I dunno … millions of newspapers going back more than a century? I suppose not, since Bashir was born and raised in the UK. But what about the producers at MSNBC, most of whom must have been born in this country? Did not one suggest to the “talent” that he was going to step in it big time with such an absurd claim? By Bashir’s logic, not even the owner of an American flag company could use her product in advertising to “fill her pockets.”
And if Palin’s bus tour is a possible “breach of federal law,” Axl Rose had better call his attorney.
So should Toby Keith.
And even lefty rockers like Bruce Springsteen!
Not to mention John Mellencamp, who named one of his early albums “American Fool.”
C’mon MSNBC. You can do a lot better with your Palin-bashing than this pathetic piece of self-parody.