Is the ‘thin blue line’ flag anti-BLM? Politifact weighs in.
The Poynter Institute, which likes to present itself as the fair arbiter of what is true or not in political life, but is really just a liberal force multiplier, says in a recent “fact-check” that the claim the Blue Lives Matter and its Thin Blue Line flag are anti-Black Lives Matter symbols is “mostly true,” despite the fact that there is little evidence to suggest it.
They cite the following as proofs.
- Trump used the Blue Lives Matter flag
- A Facebook post said the flag is “anti-Black Lives Matter flag”
- The flag is associated with pro-police groups
That’s it. It’s little more than a dressed-up version of the “Orange man bad” argument.
They note at the same time that the founder of the company that manufactures the Thin Blue Line flags has decried any association with bigotry for the flag, that it is merely meant to support law enforcement.
“The flag has no association with racism, hatred, bigotry. It’s a flag to show support for law enforcement—no politics involved,” said Andrew Johnson, president of the company that makes the flag.
Instead of listening to the founder of the company, Poynter chooses instead to cite a Twitter repost of a Facebook post by a Dartmouth professor as more proof that the flag is racist.
“The Facebook post featured a screenshot of a Twitter post by author and Dartmouth College English professor Jeff Sharlet, that included a photo and read: ‘Tonight in Wisconsin. First the anti-Black Lives Matter flag flew outside his rallies, then beside the American flag. Now it has replaced the American flag. That’s significant,’” says Politifact.
Tonight in Wisconsin. First the anti-Black Lives Matter flag flew outside his rallies, then beside the American flag. Now it has replaced the American flag. That’s significant. pic.twitter.com/1IXgo06A3C
— Jeff Sharlet (@JeffSharlet) October 25, 2020
The journalism group seems to be using the social media post as both a source of contention and a source of verification, in circular logic, saying in effect that the assertion in the post must be true because the post says so.
They also blast the Blue Lives Matter flag because it runs afoul of the US flag code, which seems like a weird claim for a group that supports burning and other disrespect for the US flag.
“To be sure, the flag itself violates the U.S. Flag Code, and should not be considered a legitimate U.S. flag by those standards,” says Politifact.
Finally, it comes to this utterly strange and twisted conclusion, that again is little more than a reconstituted “Orange man bad” argument.
“That said, while it is possible to support both [Blue Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter], Trump has made clear he opposes the Black Lives Matter protests — and made that opposition, and a strong law-and-order message, a prominent part of his re-election campaign. So, those attending the rally or seeing the images could easily see the flag as an ‘anti Black Lives Matter flag,’” concludes Politifact.
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) October 30, 2020