Journalist shows disrespect to American flag, country


Eric Ariel L. Salas

What was CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti thinking while reporting live during the protest in New York by 9/11 families who were against terrorist trials in the city?

I was watching CNN News around 11 a.m. Central Time on Dec. 5 when the segment about the rally was beamed live. Candiotti was with the protesters, covering the event on the field. The moment Candiotti went on the air, the U.S. national anthem was heard playing on the background with the protesters around her standing still. What the news reporter did next was totally beyond my comprehension. She tapped one of the protesters (later named Geraldine Davie) on the shoulder and then began saying she was sorry for disrupting her in the middle of the anthem.

While the anthem was being rendered and everyone surrounding her was showing the level of respect the national anthem deserves, Candiotti acted disrespectfully by starting the interview right then.

She was the only one moving in the crowd, by the way. The anthem that is supposed to represent the United States of America was snubbed by a veteran reporter!

I am not American, but I know that a flag code exists. We have it in my country, and I am quite certain almost all countries have their own version of the code. United States Code, 36 U.S.C. 301, states that during a rendition of the national anthem, even in the absence of the flag, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

It further says that “all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note.”

So which part of the code did Candiotti not understand? Being a journalist for more than 25 years, she should have known the proper protocol. She has a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University of Chicago and graduated with honors. Smart lady, yet, where is her patriotism?

I was brought up knowing that the national anthem, the official national song, carries the history, culture and struggles of the country and its people.

According to the first empirical exploration on the effect of national anthems on social identity, a national anthem constitutes a powerful tool to evoke nationalism and pride in individuals. The research conducted by Avi Gilboa and Ehud Bodner of Bar-Ilan University’s Department of Music, was published in October 2009 in the Psychology of Music journal.

Candiotti should know that disrespecting the national anthem is disrespecting the United States of America. Maybe Candiotti is not American, just to give her the benefit of the doubt. Yet, even with that, it is not a reason to disregard the anthem.

Although I hate seeing a mass of people showing rudeness toward the anthem at most sporting events, Candiotti happened to be not in any of them.

Sorry, but she was on TV reporting live and seen by millions of Americans. Was she trying to teach the young Americans watching CNN that it was perfectly okay to behave like what she did while the “Star-Spangled Banner” was being played? Really, I am still confused why the reporter could not take two extra minutes to stop and show little reverence and wait for the proper time to start her interview.

What is happening to the American people? Is this really how they honor the flag and the anthem – symbols of the country they call their own?

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