In the United States, we get closer to answering the question “How did we get here?” every so often.
It’s common knowledge that the United States is a failing nation whose citizens are becoming further apart, but it’s not so easy to put a date on the moment when things began to go downhill.
Chris Cuomo, host of NewsNation, has confirmed a long-debated fact concerning the role of the mainstream media in classifying patriotic symbols as divisive, which may provide some insight.
Former ABC News and CNN host Chris Cuomo disclosed to political scientist and pundit Ian Bremmer on Wednesday’s episode of his “Cuomo” program that ABC News had prohibited any hint of patriotism on the airways in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
“It’s interesting, you know, I’ve had people — the first time since 9/11 and the war on terror — people have been commenting on social media that I shouldn’t say ‘we’ when we talk about America,” Cuomo told his guest.
“I wasn’t allowed to say this then, but I just don’t care now: I am an American, and I report as an American, and I think about America’s interests,” the host continued.
“Back on 9/11, they wouldn’t let us, at ABC News, wear a flag pin. I always thought that was wrong,” Cuomo said.
“I’m an American, I’m worried about the American hostages, I’m worried about our interests, and that’s one aspect of why I care,” he said.
MRC associate editor Nicholas Fondacaro is responsible for the clip’s widespread distribution on Thursday.
“Chris Cuomo admits that ABC BANNED their reporters from wearing American flag pins after 9/11: ‘I wasn’t allowed to say this then, but I just don’t care now… Back on 9/11, they wouldn’t let us – at ABC News – wear a flag pin. I always thought that was wrong. I’m an American,’” Fondacaro posted to X.
Chris Cuomo admits that ABC BANNED their reporters from wearing American flag pins after 9/11:
"I wasn't allowed to say this then, but I just don't care now… Back on 9/11, they wouldn't let us – at ABC News – wear a flag pin. I always thought that was wrong. I'm an American." pic.twitter.com/mw1975EePE
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) October 26, 2023
Even in the hours of coverage shown the day after the attacks, September 12, 2001, Cuomo’s claim regarding the ban holds up as true.
After the terrorist attacks, ABC aired more than four hours of coverage, but according to a video from the Television Archive Project, none of the hosts donned flag pins:
Nonetheless, other publications, including USA Today in 2020, have declared the allegation that ABC News specifically banned the patriotic emblem to be false. (The Western Journal requested comment from ABC News but did not immediately hear back.)
According to USA Today’s article, ABC News explained that they have a policy against any content that could be construed as threatening to the network’s “neutrality.”
Despite widespread displays of patriotism and unity in the wake of the terrorist strikes on American territory that killed hundreds of people, the network still stuck to its ban on the stars and stripes.
In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama lent his support to this lofty justification when he said that people could judge his patriotism by his deeds, not a lapel button. At least he’s consistent. Glamour gushed about Obama’s commitment to wife Michelle Obama despite his habit of taking off his wedding band for “safekeeping.”
If the network didn’t betray the truth with its actions, maybe its unwavering commitment to neutrality would be understood and accepted.
ABC is outspoken in its advocacy for the gay rights movement, touting its “Celebrating Pride” lineup (which includes LGBT news shows and hosts) with pride.
Disney, which has owned ABC since 1996 thanks to the purchase, has no qualms about displaying its support for a difficult topic by painting its most recognizable characters in the colors of the “pride” flag.
It is undeniable that ABC News has a left-wing bias in its reporting, favoring Democrats over Republicans and anti-traditional American values, even if Cuomo has a propensity for twisting the truth that could undercut the accuracy of his allegation.
Even before September 11, 2001, many people had a sneaking feeling that the major news networks were secretly anti-American and relied on a thin layer of patriotism to maintain their credibility.
After 9/11, it became obvious that one was making a statement against the United States by declining to show national insignia; ABC News was even called out for it.
Since the attacks, of course, a lot of things have changed. Although “The Star-Spangled Banner” continues to be performed at divisive events like NFL games, the so-called black national anthem has been given a prominent place of pride in American institutions.
Some people are now emotionally distressed simply by seeing an American flag flying from the back of a pickup vehicle.
Ironically, Old Glory is typically met with less enthusiasm and is viewed as a sign of hate and division than the LGBT “pride” or Black Lives Matter banners.
The post-9/11 argument about flag lapel pins seems like a simpler time when we had no idea how awful things would get when compared to the current state of American patriotism.
Although it is too late to reverse the erosion in American patriotism, Cuomo has cast some light on the issue.