The New York Times was ripped on Saturday for publishing a piece that suggested the American flag has become a symbol of divisiveness.
“Today, flying the American flag from the back of a pickup truck or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue, albeit an imperfect one, to a person’s political affiliation in a deeply divided nation,” the Times tweeted on Saturday, with a link to their piece, “A Fourth of July Symbol of Unity That May No Longer Unite.”
In the piece, author Sarah Maslin Nir quotes a few individuals who believe that the flag has become so politicized that they now think twice about flying it outside their homes or businesses. Some people, for instance, have been hiding their patriotic pride in Old Glory after former President Trump’s supporters, and conservatives in general, “have embraced the flag so fervently.”
“What was once a unifying symbol – there is a star on it for each state, after all – is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront,” Nir wrote.
“And it has made the celebration of the Fourth of July, of patriotic bunting and cakes with blueberries and strawberries arranged into Old Glory, into another cleft in a country that seems no longer quite so indivisible, under a flag threatening to fray,” she continued.
Critics on Twitter argued that it wasn’t the flag, but the newspaper that was dividing Americans by posting such an pessimistic message on Fourth of July weekend.
“Reading the New York Times regularly is far more divisive than our American flag will ever be,” ForAmerica responded.
“This is insane,” said Alex Plitsas, a contributor at The Federalist.
“Or maybe it’s just a clue that we actually love our country. There’s that,” Ned Ryun said of those who fly the flag.
“There are two kinds of people in this country: people who love the American flag and what it stands for, and people who need to leave,” Federalist co-founder Sean Davis said in response to the Times report.
Lawmakers and former officials joined readers in blasting the Times, with some suggesting that the newspaper set up shop elsewhere.
“Apparently loving our country’s flag is now offensive. Disgusting.” tweeted Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
“NYT reporters should try living in Gaza – they don’t appreciate the freedoms they enjoy everyday,” tweeted former Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, adding, “They hate America. Stop paying these condescending elites money.”
“So so stupid. If the American flag offends you, move elsewhere,” agreed Erick Erickson.
Readers questioned the Times’ patriotism last month, too, after one of their contributors, Mara Gay, said on MSNBC that she was “disturbed” to see “dozens of American flags” flown by Trump supporters during a weekend trip to Long Island, New York.
“I was on Long Island this weekend visiting a really dear friend, and I was really disturbed,” Gay said of her trip. “I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pickup trucks with explicatives [sic] against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and in some cases just dozens of American flags, which is also just disturbing … Essentially the message was clear. This is my country. This is not your country. I own this.”
Instead of distancing themselves from Gay’s controversial take, the Times rushed to her defense, releasing the following statement:
“New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay’s comments on MSNBC have been irresponsibly taken out of context. Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith.”
Before that, in 2016, the Times ran a headline, “Is the National Anthem Racist? Beyond the Debate Over Colin Kaepernick.”
The flag isn’t the only symbol of freedom that’s been questioned by the media as of late. The Washington Post’s Philip Kennicott asked his readers on Saturday, “Maybe It’s Time to Admit That the Statue of Liberty Never Measured Up.”