The vast majority of Americans are spending this Independence Day weekend taking pride in their country as they celebrate the freedoms established by the Founding Fathers.
But, some journalists are still embarrassed by America. Some of them even seem to take pride in actually shaming the country.
The Media Research Center has been capturing journalists mocking America over the years. The following is a countdown of the Media’s 20 Worst Anti-American Outbursts (as culled from the MRC’s archives):
20. We Wish You a Happy Fourth Of July!
“Oh say, we’ve seen too much. The Star-Spangled Banner pushes like a cough through America’s mouth and the twilight’s last gleaming is just that, a sickly flash above our heads as we ride unsuspecting in the bellies of sleek trains, plop to our knees in churches, embracing truths that disgust us.”
— Boston GlobePatricia Smith, poet and arts critic The Nation’s “Patriotism” issue, July 15/22, 1991.
19. Respecting Anthem is Racism
“Some of the words of the National Anthem are white supremacist….I think this is a country whose history is racist, whose history is steeped in white supremacy, and the anthem reflects that in its very words.”
— Detroit Free Press writer Stephen Henderson on NBC’s Meet the PressPublished September 24, 2017.
18. This is the part of the debate where you should dump on America
“Governor Romney, Daniel Duchovnik [ph] from Walnut Creek, California wants to know, ‘What do you dislike most about America?’”
— Online question selected by The Politico’s Jim VandeHei will pose for the Republican presidential candidates during their MSNBC debate on May 3, 2007.
17. Liberal Radio Host: It Pains Me to Chant “U.S.A!”
“As I’ve grown older, I find my ‘U.S.A.!’-chanting reflex increasingly interrupted by pangs of discomfort, and not because I’m ashamed of our country or our Olympians….Missed in the ensuing red-white-and-blue hoopla, of course, is the fact that we are not so exceptional outside the Olympic village….We are not gold, silver or even bronze medalists when it comes to healthcare; sadly, we are 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for female mortality, 42nd for adult male mortal-ity….If we do stand atop a dais anywhere other than at a sporting event, it is for military spending, carbon emissions and incarceration rates.”
— Colorado radio host David Sirota in an August 1, 2012 piece for Salon.com, “Don’t chant ‘U.S.A.!’ It’s liberal Americans’ Olympic dilemma: How do they root for their countrymen without being jingoistic?”
16. Jingoism Rings the Bells
“The pro-American approach is one NBC rarely detours from. This is a part of Olympic broadcasting’s DNA. All networks around the globe that have rights to broadcast the Games are free to ring their bells whenever they wish. And it’s easier to interview your own nation’s athletes, especially if language barriers exist. Still, there should be a better way to present these stories without so much American navel-gazing.”
— New York TimesRichard Sandomir, a sports/TV columnist in an August 17, 2016, column.
15. The Star Spangled Banner makes you embarrassed
“I mean, when you think about it, it’s ‘bombs bursting in air,’ ‘rocket’s red glare,’ it’s all kinds of — you know a lot of national anthems are that way, too — all kinds of military jargon, and the land — there’s only one phrase ‘the land of the free,’ which is kind of nice, and ‘the home of the brave?’ I don’t know….Are we [Americans]The only people who can be brave are they? I mean, ‘all the brave people live here.’ I mean, it’s just stupid, I think. I’m embarrassed, I’m embarrassed every time I hear it.”
— Former CNN and MSNBC host Bill Press on his Full Court Press nationally-syndicated radio show, June 5, 2012.
14. Stars and Stripes: Despising
“My daughter, who goes to Stuyvesant High School only blocks from the World Trade Center, thinks we should fly an American flag out our window. No, I tell her: The flag is for war and revenge and jingoism. She tells me I’m wrong — the flag means standing together and honoring the dead and saying no to terrorism. In a way we’re both right….[The flag] has to bear a wide range of meanings, from simple, dignified sorrow to the violent anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry that has already resulted in murder, vandalism and arson around the country and harassment on New York City streets and campuses.”
— The Nation’sKatha Pollitt’s column from October 8, 2001.
13. The Scary, the White and the Red.
“A friend of ours, a prominent member of the ‘liberal media,’ wrote to the head of our kids’ school last week suggesting that students spend more time with the Pledge of Allegiance and The Star-Spangled Banner. The principal was open to the idea. Our 10-year-old girl asked our mother to put a flag onto her car. My wife reluctantly agreed, but hasn’t procured the flag yet….My wife essentially shares our daughter’s feelings. But for her, the symbol of the flag was appropriated in her youth by counter-protesters who used it to deny the patriotism of the war’s opponents. Flag-waving feels aggressive to her.”
— Former CBS Evening News Producer Dick Meyer, in an October 1st 2001 commentary on CBSNews.com
12. Take Back the Flag
“I decided to put on my flag pin tonight — first time. Until now I haven’t thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see….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….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. But more galling than anything are all those 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….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.”
— Bill Moyers on PBS’s Act NowThis was February 28, 2003.
11. Happy Independence Day, America Sucks
“We know what July 4th is. How about July 5th. What about July 5th? After all the firework displays, music and the rhetoric of liberty, ?… What kind of country does the flag of now fly above it? There is no less innocent flag, for American innocence wasn’t the truth. No one is less likely to support war because there are bad reasons that we’ve foolishly given in the past. Now, the nation doesn’t have that. As our President demonstrated last week, we have become a people who wage unending war killing and maiming our young ones and theirs without being remotely able to say why.”
— Columnist James Carroll in the July 5, 2005 Boston Globe.
10. National Anthem Is “Tough to Take”
Co-host Sara Haines: “To Representative Crenshaw, who says, you know, this is the basic thing of an Olympian, to represent the country, Gwen Berry is representing the country. She’s questioning an American anthem that maybe doesn’t represent all people in the country.”
Whoopi Goldberg, co-host: “In the upcoming days, we’ll play you the American anthem and let you see what you think of it. Because there’s some stuff in there that makes it a little bit tough to take.”
— Discussion about Olympian Gwen Barry protesting the National Anthem, ABC’sThe View, June 29.
9. Editor: Let’s Burn the Flag
“If the U.S. Senate follows its silly siblings in the House of Representatives and votes for a ban on burning the American flag, I’m going to burn one. It never occurred to me to burn a flag — except in some flag-retiring ceremony — but just the idea that Congress has nothing better to do than spend time on this nutty issue makes me want to burn one.”
— Linda Grist Cunningham, Executive Editor of the Rockford Register Star in Illinois, in a June 26, 2005 column.
8. Let’s Shred the Constitution!
“The framers were not gods and were not infallible. Yes, they gave us, and the world, a blueprint for the protection of democratic freedoms — freedom of speech, assembly, religion — but they also gave us the idea that a black person was three-fifths of a human being, that women were not allowed to vote and that South Dakota should have the same number of Senators as California, which is kind of crazy….If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so.”
— Time managing editor Richard Stengel in the magazine’s July 4, 2011 edition, which featured a picture of the U.S. Constitution going through a shredder with the headline, “Does It Still Matter?”
7. Post-9/11 Flag-Waving “Sometimes a Cousin to Intolerance”
“The CNN film [The Flag]Based on a David Friend book, focuses upon the smudged American Flag that the three firefighters raised from the rubble of fallen buildings late on Sept. 11, 2001. Thomas E. Franklin from The Record in New Jersey captured the flag raising. This was a touching, patriotic image that many found comforting on an otherwise horrible day …..[But]The three firefighters rebelled against attempts to make the photographer a famous celebrity. One controversy was the plan to transform the photograph into an artifact. Nationwide, flag-waving was sometimes a cousin to intolerance.”
— From New York Times critic Neil Genzlinger’s September 4, 2013 review of CNN’s The Flag.
6. Forget About the “Terse and Old” Founding Documents
“The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights….The Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care. There are some peculiarities to it. Only two percent of the world’s constitutions protect, as the Second Amendment does, a right to bear arms. Mexico and Guatemala are its brothers in arms.)”
— New York Times Supreme Court reporter Andrew Liptak in a front-page February 7, 2012 “Sidebar” news analysis, “We the People Loses Appeal with People Around the World.”
5. American Revolution = “Monumental Mistake”
“American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake….I’m reasonably confident a world in which the revolution never happened would be better than the one we live in now, for three main reasons: Slavery would’ve been abolished earlier, American Indians would’ve faced rampant persecution but not the outright ethnic cleansing Andrew Jackson and other American leaders perpetrated, and America would have a parliamentary system of government….Government spending in parliamentary countries is about 5 percent of GDP higher.”
— Dylan Matthews in a July 2, 2015 post on Vox.com: “3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake.”
4. American Flag: Triggered
“We have tens of millions of Trump voters who continue to believe that their rights as citizens are under threat by simple virtue of having to share the democracy with others. I think as long as they see Americanness as the same as one with whiteness, this is going to continue….I was on Long Island this weekend, visiting a really dear friend. This really upset me. I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pickup trucks with you know, expletives against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and in some cases, just dozens of American flags, which you know is also just disturbing, because essentially the message was clear: ‘This is my country. It isn’t your country. I own this.’”
— New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay on MSNBC’sMorning Joe, June 8, 2021.
3. Standing For National Anthem is “Affirmation of American Empire”
“It’s a political statement to pledge allegiance to the flag. It’s a political statement to stand for the singing of the National Anthem. Colin Kaepernick, me, and other people have very different political views. It’s not neutral to pledge allegiance or sing the National Anthem. It’s an affirmation of the American empire.”
— Political analyst Marc Lamont Hill on CNN NewsroomSeptember 23, 2017, at 11:59 PM.
2. “Uncomfortable” With Calling Veterans “Heroes”
“I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words ‘heroes.’… I feel comfortable — ah, uncomfortable, about the word ‘hero’ because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war, and I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine and tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. It seems that this word is used in a problematic way. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”
— Host Chris Hayes talking about “The Meaning of Memorial Day” on MSNBC’s Up Chris HayesThis article was published on May 27, 2012.
1. July 4th, MSNBC-Style: “Imperialism, Genocide, Slavery”
“The land on which they [the Founders]This Union was stolen. These hands were slaved and used to create this nation. The women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class….This is the imperfect fabric of our nation, at times we’ve torn and stained it, and at other moments, we mend and repair it. But it’s ours, all of it. The imperialism, the genocide, the slavery, also the liberation and the hope and the deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of us.”
— MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry on her eponymous July 1, 2012 program, delivering what she called “my footnote for the Fourth of July.”