If you have any conservative friends at all, you probably heard about the Tea Party protest of the Chinese flag being flown at the Washington state capitol. If you don’t have any conservative friends or relatives (lucky you!), you may have missed it. So, in the interest of keeping everyone informed, here’s what conservatives claim happened, followed by what really happened.
Washington governor Democrat Jay Insle, had a meeting with Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the United States. In honor of that meeting, the Chinese flag was raised in front of the capitol building. The sight of the Chinese flag, flying alongside the American and Washington state flags set off conservatives, and on Saturday April 4, a small group of Tea Party supporters held a protest outside the capitol building.
A video posted by a conservative activist shows the Chinese flag being taken down, as a Washington state trooper stands by, observing, and even helping, at one point. On the video, one protester praises the officer. “Now that’s an Oath Keeper there, making sure the Communist flag comes down. That’s an officer that I can support,” he says. It was originally reported on “Fox and Friends,” as well as on the Fox News Insider website, that one of the protesters jumped in, apparently in a state of moral outrage that he could no longer contain, and started taking the flag down, assisted by the police officer.
Here’s the video that got conservatives’ bowels in an uproar, via YouTube:
And now, what REALLY happened.
At least some of the sites that originally reported that the Tea Party protesters were responsible for taking down the Chinese flag have issued corrections.
What really happened was this: The protesters just happened to be there when, at the end of the day, the flag was taken down by a state worker. Steve Benin, writing at MSNBC.com, says that flying the flag of a foreign country is standard protocol for a visiting dignitary. Some conservatives have complained that flying another flag at the same height as the American flag is a violation of the flag code. The flag code is not law, but is merely a set of suggestions for proper display of the flag. Does anyone remember conservatives, or Fox News, being outraged when, in 2006, the Chinese flag was displayed at the same height as Old Glory when the Chinese president visited President Bush at the White House?
The conservative outrage was also missing when Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital ordered the Chinese flag flown over the Sensata Tech plant in Freeport, Illinois, before moving jobs from there to China, and closing the plant. Truth-out reports that, the week before Chinese workers arrived in the U.S. to be trained by their American counterparts, the Chinese flag replaced the American flag at the plant. It continued to be flown, in place of the American flag, until the Chinese workers left.
So, why did the Chinese flag come down, and stay down, after this “controversy” hit the conservative media universe? Surely those righteous Tea Partiers had something to do with it, right? Actually, no. The Chinese flag came down on April 4, because, as reported on the Chinese embassy’s website, April 4 was the end of ambassador Cui’s official visit.
Steve Benin observes that a Scottish diplomat arrived for a series of meetings beginning on April 6. For that, the Scottish flag was raised, to the same height as the American flag. Whether there will be complaints, or protests regarding that, remains to be seen. But, as for now, cue the crickets.
Rachel Maddow did a beautiful takedown of this issue on the April 9 edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show.” There is no video clip available of the segment, but you can catch it, at the end of the full episode, by going to the MSNBC website.
Featured image via screen shot from YouTube