Counting the Reasons to Defund

The 20 Most Memorable Leftist Excesses of Public Broadcasting

Flag Pins Are Communist

7. Longtime PBS host Bill Moyers proclaims GOP officials wearing flag pins after 9/11 remind him of communist China (2003). 

    On February 28, 2003, a few weeks before the Iraq war began, Bill Moyers sported a flag lapel pin on his PBS show Now, but not to proclaim his pride in America. “It no more occurred to me to flaunt the flag on my chest than it did to pin my mother’s picture on my lapel to prove her son’s love. Mother knew where I stood; so does my country. I even tuck a valentine in my tax returns on April 15. So what’s this doing here? Well, I put it on to take it back. The flag’s been hijacked and turned into a logo, the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism.”

   Moyers said he decided to wear the flag for one night as a “modest riposte” to the “people whose ardor for war grows disproportionately to their distance from the fighting. They’re in the same league as those swarms of corporate lobbyists wearing flags and prowling Capitol Hill for tax breaks, even as they call for more spending on war.”

    The commentary was conflicted in that Moyers objected to “moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American,” and yet he suggested the administration was like Mao Zedong and Osama bin Laden. Citing how President Bush and Vice President Cheney wear flag lapel pins, Moyers was reminded of communism: “When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao’s Little Red Book on every official’s desk, omnipresent and unread.”

    As if that moral equivalence wasn’t offensive enough, Moyers compared the President to the leader of al-Qaeda. Both were terrorists: “So I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don’t have to make it, or approve of bribing governments to join the coalition of the willing -- after they first stash the cash. I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us.”