Not everyone was celebrating the 245th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this weekend. Particularly unenthusiastic were four prominent media outlets, who delivered decidedly downbeat assessments of the significance of American independence and its symbols.
The New York Times published a report on the implications of displaying the American flag.
The Times article was headlined “A Fourth of July Symbol of Unity That May No Longer Unite” and claimed that honoring the flag was now a right-wing motif. It said that supporters of former President Donald Trump embraced the flag “so fervently” that liberals have “all but ceded the national emblem to the right.”
“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.
National Public Radio, referring to “13 British colonies,” also downplayed the significance of the Declaration of Independence in two Twitter posts, noting that “women, enslaved people, Indigenous people and many others were not held as equal at the time.”
In a second tweet, NPR said, “The document also includes a racist slur against Indigenous Americans. Author David Treuer, who is Ojibwe, says there is a lot of diversity of opinion and thought among Native Americans — a community of more than 5 million people — about the document’s words,” NPR added a quote from Treuer: “We remain committed to forcing this country to live up to its own stated ideals.”
Prominently featured in the story was Fordham University critical race theory law professor Tanya K. Hernandez, who noted that it’s common for marginalized U.S. citizens to question reveling in Fourth of July festivities.
The story also noted a Gallup poll finding from last year that found that the number of U.S. adults saying they are “extremely” or “very” proud to be American hitting a 20-year low.
The Washington Post attacked the Statue of Liberty in an essay on Saturday. Writer Philip Kennicott called it “a meaningless symbol of hypocrisy” because of America’s history of racism, sexism and anti-immigrant sentiment. He also said the statue was irrelevant to non-white Americans.
🧵 245 years ago today, leaders representing 13 British colonies signed a document to declare independence.
It says "that all men are created equal" — but women, enslaved people, Indigenous people and many others were not held as equal at the time. https://t.co/dtE0z2Uabc
— NPR (@NPR) July 4, 2021