The NY Times sparked fireworks with an Independence Day report on the political implications of displaying the American flag — just weeks after being forced to defend an article writer who said she was “really disturbed” to ascertain the American flag flown by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The Times article — with the web headline “A Fourth of July Symbol of Unity which will not Unite” — suggests that Trump supporters have embraced the flag “so fervently” that liberals have “all but ceded the national emblem to the proper .” “Today, flying the American flag from the rear of a pickup or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue, albeit an imperfect one, to a person’s political affiliation during a deeply divided nation,” the days tweeted on Saturday, with a link to their piece, “A Fourth of July Symbol of Unity which will not Unite.”
In the piece, author Sarah Maslin Nir quotes a couple of individuals who believe that the flag has become so politicized that they now consider flying it outside their homes or businesses. “What was once a unifying symbol – there’s a star thereon for every state, in any case – is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people that kneel while ‘The Star-Spangled Banner plays and people for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront,” Nir wrote. She also quotes an extended Island farmer, Peter Treiber Jr., describing how he had to reveal his “liberal leanings” to strike an effect a greenmarket customer who was leery because his family farm is marked by an old truck emblazoned with the celebs and Stripes.
“She said, ‘Oh, whew. You know, I wasn’t so sure about you, I assumed you were some flag-waving something-or-other,’” Treiber said. The article immediately prompted a fierce backlash from conservatives on Twitter, with city Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island ) accusing the days of displaying political bias. “Flying your flag is offensive you guys. #Happy4thOfJuly,” he tweeted, alongside an American flag emoji. US Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “Apparently loving our country’s flag is now offensive. Disgusting.”
And Erick Erickson, a Georgia-based radio host, and Fox News contributor invoked the Vietnam War-era slogan of “America, like it or leave it.” “So so stupid. If the American flag offends you, move elsewhere,” he tweeted. The controversy erupted but a month after Times editorial member Mara Gay told MSNBC that she was “really disturbed” to ascertain flags bashing President Biden, supporting Trump “and some cases, just dozens of yank flags,” flying from pick-up trucks during a weekend trip to Long Island . In response to online attacks, the days defended Gay’s remarks, saying, “Her argument was that Trump and lots of of his supporters have politicized the American flag .”