In an article about athletic company Nike’s decision to pull a line of sneakers featuring the original U.S. flag — designed by Betsy Ross — Buzzfeed News attempted to tie the flag design to white supremacists. Because, of course.
The sub-headline for the article reads: “Some white nationalists have adopted the historic flag.”
So, what’s the outlet’s evidence that the flag has been adopted by white nationalists? Here it is:
In recent years the flag has also been used for political purposes, including by some white nationalists.
A 2018 story by The Outline noted the flag was on display in the home of a member of white nationalist group Identity Evropa.
In 2016, students at a high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, displayed the Betsy Ross flag along with a Trump campaign flag. The students’ school superintendent later apologized to parents.
That’s their evidence. A single instance of the flag appearing in the home of someone who belongs to a white nationalist group and a school that dared to display the flag next to President Donald Trump’s campaign flag. That’s it. Obviously, the belief by anti-Trump people that Trump is a white nationalist means anything displayed near his campaign merchandise is also a symbol of white nationalism — none of which is true.
On Twitter, The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross wrote that media outlets trying to tie the Betsy Ross-created flag to white nationalism gives white nationalists an incredible amount of power.
“So we all have to cancel something because some extremist groups have started using it? Or how about we not give extremist groups that much power. These people are insane,” he tweeted.
Ross also noted that making this claim about our country’s original flag will “further and further” marginalize it “so that indeed only white nationalists and people like that will display it.”
“Self-fulfilling prophecy,” he added.
The media has done this before. In 2016, outlets linked the popular “Pepe the Frog” meme to white nationalists, even though most people had never seen the meme used in such a way. Rather quickly, the meme disappeared from most forums except for those using it for racist purposes. Now the media can claim it was right about the meme all along, even though they caused the situation.
The same thing has happened to the “OK” hand signal. Some white nationalists or alt-right people used it, and now anyone who uses it to mean “OK” (or playing the “circle game”) gets shamed as racist, so the symbol is disappearing from the mainstream.
Beyond the lame attempts to tie the Betsy Ross flag to today’s white nationalists, the “woke” outcry over the flag — that it should be cut from history because it was created when slavery was legal — may be just as absurd. Today’s outraged liberals are literally trying to cancel history because it isn’t woke enough.
On Instagram, people complained that the flag was racist. “I wasn’t free yet,” one commenter said regarding the time period in which the flag flew. Others suggested Nike’s next sneakers would feature the Confederate flag.