President-Elect Donald Trump apparently triggered the liberal media Tuesday morning with a tweet expressing his disapproval of people burning the American flag. He also argued that there should be a punishment for the act, but of course that would be unconstitutional. But while the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) hyped Trump’s position they downplayed, if not flat out ignoring, Clinton’s own support for such a ban.
“The president-elect is overshadowing his own cabinet picks with his threat today about jailing or perhaps revoking citizenship for people who burn American flags in protest,” announced Anchor Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News leading into an over two minute long report on the tweet.
“Not long after this [Fox News] segment about a college protest in which an American flag was burned, a Trump tweet,” reported NBC’s Hallie Jackson, “But burning the flag is a form of free speech under the first amendment, upheld twice by the Supreme Court.”
She argued that most Americans disapprove of flag burning, saying, “In fact, before those court rulings, 48 of 50 states had laws banning it.” She also noted that a most unlikely Democratic presidential candidate supported such bans. “In 2005, Hillary Clinton backed a bill that would jail flag-burners,” she stated. But that is all she had to say about Clinton’s backing of the ban.
According to the Washington Examiner, not only did Clinton introduce legislation in 2005 to criminalize flag burning but she also backed another bill in 2006. Clinton’s bill would’ve had flag burners jailed for a year, just like what Trump called for. The Examiner also noted that, “Although one of the flag-burning measures Clinton supported failed in the Senate in June 2006, the bill earned 36 votes, mostly from Democrats in the minority.”
The fact that Clinton backed two flag burning bans went completely unreported by both ABC and CBS, which is noteworthy since NBC thought it was important enough to bring up. ABC instead chose to browbeat Trump, during World News Tonight, with the memory of conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia, who defended flag burning as a form of freedom of speech.
CBS’s Major Garrett gave the tweet very little time, merely tacking it onto the end of his report about Trump’s latest cabinet picks. He mentioned that the punishing flag burners was unconstitutional, but failed to mention Clinton’s own history of supporting such punishments.