Media increasingly portray patriotism as negative and ‘right-wing’ in decades since 9/11: Analysis

A noted media analyst says that most major outlets have increasingly resorted to portraying patriotism and love of country as “right-wing” and negative in the decades since the 9/11 attacks, though love of country surged dramatically following what became the country’s worst incidence of terrorism.

Today, Fox News contributor and The Hill media critic Joe Concha said this week, there is a wide chasm between Democrats and independents on one side, and Republicans on the other, regarding patriotism, with the latter group proudly identifying as such far more often, a phenomenon that is being driven by the left-leaning press.

“We’ve seen on multiple occasions major news outlets share their feelings and opinions in making patriotic symbols and demonstrations a divisive political issue,” he said. “The New York Times just this summer had a writer named Mara Gay who declared that she found it ‘disturbing’ there were so many flags she had to witness on lawns and trucks. Disturbing.”

“The same New York Times that not too long ago asked if the Star-Spangled Banner and National Anthem were racist,” Concha continued.

“The same New York Times that is defending Olympian Gwen Berry – who turned away from the National Anthem in calling the playing of it a ‘set up.’ This is not the paper of record. It’s an extension of the DNC,'” he added, using the acronym for the Democratic National Committee, whose voters do not express patriotism nearly to the extent of Republicans.

“Last year, a record low of 63 percent of Americans reported being “extremely” or “very proud” to be Americans. There was a slight uptick to 69 percent when asked the question by Gallup this year, but still far from the 92 percent who reported that answer in 2002,” Fox News reported.

Polling shows that Democrats tend to feel less patriotic if a Republican president is in office and/or Republicans control Congress, but Republican patriotism has remained relatively stable over the past 20 years, not dipping just because Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden were in the Oval Office.

“One year after the Sept. 11 attacks, 93 percent of Democrats and 99 percent of Republicans said they were either ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ proud to be Americans,” FiveThirtyEight reported in July 2018.

“The GOP number stayed comfortably in the 90s for the duration of George W. Bush’s presidency, but by January 2007, amid an unpopular war in Iraq that sparked no small amount of liberal dissent, the share of Democrats who were ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ proud to be Americans had shrunk to 74 percent,” the political data site continued.

Drew Holden, a political commentator, noted that American military involvement in the Middle East as well as disagreement over the Patriot Act, an expansive law that provided broad surveillance powers to the government following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, added to patriotism contrasts as well as pride in the country.

“I think that definitely played into this polarization. Post 9/11, patriotism became associated, by the media and both parties, with support for foreign wars in Afghanistan and eventually and to a lesser degree Iraq,” he told Fox News.

“I think that poisoned the well in a lot of ways. As soon as you’ve gotten a political cause tied to patriotism in the public square, it cheapens the term, and allows people to play fast and loose with the definition,” he added.

“Patriotism is the latest victim of America’s politicization and polarization crisis. But should it surprise us that patriotism wanes when outlets like CNN associate the word with January 6th rioters and white supremacists?” Holden continued.

“By normalizing these outlandish perspectives, the media has helped create a narrative that uncontroversial views and displays of patriotism are adjacent to something evil, which is going to have a downstream impact on American culture more broadly,” he said.

Additional examples of the media’s patriotism bias include:

— John Avlon of CNN wrote in 2013 that the term “patriot” had become tainted, going on to blame grassroots conservative organizations like the Tea Party.

— A Slate piece last year called for leftists to make liberalism “great again” in a push-back against “right-wing authoritarians.”

— William Rhoden, a sportswriter, told CBS This Morning in August he once enjoyed covering the Olympics over his long tenure in the industry but feels different now after seeing so many “American flags” at the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.


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