Me With a Flag
in case you missed hearing this on your local Clear Channel
Communications station, let me pass it along:
Apology from Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks:
As a concerned American citizen,
I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful.
I now realize that whoever holds that office should be treated
with the utmost respect.
I hope everyone understands, I’m just a young girl who grew
up in Texas. As far back as I can remember, I heard people
say they were ashamed of President Clinton. I saw bumper
stickers calling him everything from a pothead to a murderer.
I heard people on the radio and TV like Rush Limbaugh, Pat
Robertson, Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott bad-mouthing the
president and ridiculing his wife and daughter at every
I heard lots of people disrespecting the president.
So I guess I just assumed it was acceptable behavior.
But now, thanks to the thousands of angry people who want
radio stations to boycott our music because criticizing
the president is unpatriotic, I realize it’s wrong to have
a liberal opinion if you’re a country-music artist. I guess
I should have thought about that before deciding to play
music that attracts hypocritical rednecks.
I also realize now that I’m supposed to just sing and look
cute so our fans won’t have anything to upset them while
they’re cheating on their wives or getting in drunken bar
fights or driving around in their pickup trucks shooting
highway signs and small animals.
And most important of all, I realize that it’s wrong for
a celebrity to voice a political opinion, unless they’re
Charlie Daniels, Clint Black, Merle Haggard, Barbara Mandrell,
Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt, Hank Williams
Jr., Amy Grant, Larry Gatlin, Crystal Gayle, Reba McEntire,
Lee Greenwood, Lorrie Morgan, Anita Bryant, Mike Oldfield,
Ted Nugent, Wayne Newton, Dick Clark, Jay Leno, Drew Carey,
Dixie Carter, Victoria Jackson, Charlton Heston, Fred Thompson,
Ben Stein, Bruce Willis, Kevin Costner, Arnold Schwartzenegger,
Bo Derek, Rick Schroeder, George Will, Pat Buchanan, Bill
O’Reilly, Joe Rogan, Delta Burke, Robert Conrad or Jesse
God bless America,
Wouldn’t it be great if Natalie Maines actually had written
Of course, she couldn’t have written it. Because the earning
potential of the Dixie Chicks is insignificant compared to
the power wielded by Clear Channel Communications, the nation’s
largest radio broadcaster.
Still, wouldn’t you like to have heard it on the radio?
But unless it’s a smaller, independent radio station—and thank
God for them—you wouldn’t.
The claim made by the radio conglomerates, specifically Clear
Channel, is that they have no political agenda.
in the business of having the largest possible audience,”
says John Hogan, president and CEO of Clear Channel’s radio
We’re supposed to believe that those big, corporate-owned
radio stations strive to keep themselves out of any kind of
Sure doesn’t seem that way.
Clear Channel has been able to wiggle out of charges that
its concert promoters threatened to pull Ani DiFranco off
stage at a venue in New Jersey if she allowed any antiwar
talk. And while another large radio broadcaster, Cumulous
Media, put a gag order on the Dixie Chicks, Cox Radio and
Clear Channel Communications simply cited audience preference
for why the Dixie Chicks disappeared from playlists. (“Country
music is a very patriotic format,” reports Michael Cruise,
a program director for Cox Radio stations in Houston.)
But Clear Channel Communications is under fire for its 18
“Rally for America!” events, engineered by radio personality
Glenn Beck, who claimed the rallies were a response to his
call to “Mr. and Mrs. America” to hold rallies.
is not a corporate conspiracy, hidden agenda or grand design,”
he wrote, claiming that criticism of these events was part
of a “concerted media effort to marginalize the voices of
That’s an interesting defense to ponder in the wake of Peter
Arnett’s dismissal by both NBC and National Geographic
after his ill-advised interview on Iraqi television.
NBC, initially defending Arnett, decided to let him go after
criticism of his interview became intense.
right-wing media and politicians are looking for any opportunity
to be critical of the reporters who are here,” Arnett wrote
in his first column for Britain’s Daily Mirror.
But if that’s true and NBC was trying to make Arnett’s dismissal
some show of patriot judgment, then it’s the American public
that loses out.
Along with Richard Engel, hired by contract after ABC pulled
its regular correspondents out of Baghdad for safety reasons,
Arnett was the only other correspondent reporting for American
networks. And with his history of covering the Gulf War in
1991—he was the only journalist for a major American news
organization allowed to remain in Baghdad then—the quality
and quantity of reporting will suffer.
Of course, NBC might have simply acknowledged Arnett’s error
in judgment and kept a willing reporter in a dangerous zone
where, nonetheless, there was news to gather.
Instead NBC opted to can him, trading off a reputable source
for the image of unwavering commitment to the American cause
It’s a funny world we’re living in when dissent is allowed
from the right wing and seen as subversion when it come from
left—or even centrist—convictions.
On the other hand, there does exist a Web site that actually
lists traitors to the American cause (with pictures). And
who are these traitors? Check it out for yourself at www.probush.com/traitor.htm.
I’ll name just a few: Al Gore, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ben
Cohen, Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, Susan Sarandon and—did
you doubt it for a minute?—Peter Arnett and the Dixie Chicks.
can contact Jo Page at firstname.lastname@example.org.