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David Emery

Did ABC News Ban Flag Lapel Pins?

By August 25, 2011

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(UPDATED) "Yesterday, the brass at ABC News issued orders forbidding reporters to wear lapel pin American flags or other patriotic insignia," complains a 3-year-old forwarded email that has suddenly become popular again. "I urge you to boycott ABC and its sponsors and affiliates."

Boycott whomever you please, but know this: it was 10 years ago in the aftermath of 9/11, not yesterday, that ABC asked its news anchors and reporters to eschew on-air displays of patriotism. Among other reasons, the network said it was concerned for the safety of American journalists working abroad. Learn more...


November 13, 2008 at 12:00 pm
(1) tcrossing says:

This is nonsense – I have worked at ABC News for 14 years and no one has ever banned flag pins. On air talent doesn’t wear pins as a practical matter – they would reflect light and bang into a lapel mic.

February 2, 2011 at 11:57 am
(2) Songbird says:

Now how long did it take you to come up with and rehearse those reasons for not wearing our American Flag Lapel Pin. You just made yourself sound ridiculous! Bi-focals reflect light, as does jewelry, buttons, etc. I notice you haven’t stopped wearing those. Oh and by the way, I wear an American Flag lapel pin myself and I have a lapel mic and I tried this out and I admit I looked pretty ridiculous. It looked as though I was beating my chest up when I tried to bang the mic into the lapel pin!!!

August 21, 2011 at 12:20 am
(3) Joy says:

Do we need the flag pin police? Maybe since I am displaying the American flag and very few of my neighbors are, they are …shall we say…UNamerican? What should I do about their lack of patriotism?

September 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm
(4) Don Moore says:

Why all of a sudden does a flag pin reflect light and bang into a lapel mike when it has never done this before?

November 15, 2008 at 6:57 pm
(5) Karen Bloodworth says:

God save us all!!

November 15, 2008 at 8:55 pm
(6) F Stall says:

This cannot be true. As an elementary teacher we are always encouraging patriotism.

November 16, 2008 at 1:45 am
(7) Gniem says:

To tcrossing!
Oh baloney,..Lou Dobbs ALWAYS wears a lapel pin,..hasn’t affected his mike!

November 20, 2008 at 5:21 pm
(8) Dan Miller says:

Maybe we should let their sponsors know and boycott them. Still find it hard to believe.

November 20, 2008 at 6:38 pm
(9) ASK says:


August 23, 2011 at 8:18 am
(10) PAT COPE says:

I have always watched good morning america! As well as many shows on ABC, however, since you have decided to ban lapel pins, I will no longer watch your network and will encourage everyone I know to stop. This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I hope you get the lowest ratings you have ever had. Now, I won’t watch the view or anything that I previously watched because of your decision. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM??????

August 26, 2011 at 2:31 am
(11) ShariYS says:

Oh, GET A CLUE!! Go back and re-read the article, willya? It was 10 years ago that this took place, NOT yesterday! And Obama never had anything to do with it. Honestly, people, use your brains!

September 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm
(12) George says:

No Lapel Flag -I will note advertizers and not purchase their products

November 20, 2008 at 9:43 pm
(13) David says:

GO FOX NEWS. The only place where America is still the Best Place on Earth, God is still God and patriatism is something to be proud of, not shameful. But then, we have known for a long time what ABC, NBC and CBS stood for. Lies, deceit and atheism.

November 26, 2008 at 5:12 pm
(14) Pat says:

Hey David, stick your head outside and get some fresh air. What happened to all the stories on FOX about Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright and “Obama’s a liberal, muslim, socialist radical” that were so important BEFORE the election. Not peep since. Your far right wing, radical, hypocritical extremists, lost the election to a guy who thinks for himself and the best interest of the country, NOT the extremists in his party. BTW it’s “patriotism” not patratism.

September 22, 2011 at 1:32 am
(15) bonniewheeler says:

Fox News is not speaking as much about Rev. Wright because he (Wright) has toned it down a bit now that people have come to know what he really is. He’s antti American, anti-white. He doesn’t even allow the American flag to appear in his church. I called the church to find out, however, they do fly the African flag. You know the flag that represents the nation that sold their own people into slavery.

November 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm
(16) epb says:

you left wing news groups can think of any excuse not to honor the u.s.a.

band into lapel mics, are you nuts or just think we all are stupid!!!

December 6, 2008 at 1:59 pm
(17) mjh says:

what flag does ABC fly over there buildings the communist flag .

December 8, 2008 at 3:02 pm
(18) Jerry Lennemann says:

Does anyone have a list of their advertizers so we can let them know of our boycott of their products? And we can also let them know why.

December 11, 2008 at 10:13 pm
(19) J says:

One of the responsibilities of the media is to not become the news and to approach their subject in such a way as to get complete and unbiased information. There are plenty of people who would change their responses to questions purely based on the perceptions about the person asking.

This is fundamental – the subconcious consistently rules over the concious mind – and both are reactive. Change the tone of your voice asking the same question, and people go from proud to evasive to quiet, or even playful. The less a reporter appears to be biased in any way… and the less leading their questions… the more likely you will get an honest answer. You can bet that if all reporters had to wear their national flag overseas, the Canadians would be getting more honest answers. They simply are not so hell-bent on being red-white-and-blue, self-righteous, and in peoples face all the time. Reporters are supposed to obtain news, not become it… Reporting is not supposed to be campaign, but inquiry.

That said, asking a reporter not to wear a flag is also probably over the top on our home soil.

This particular claim does not provide much context, but it does suggest that wearing a pin could put some journalists in harms way; The fact is, America is not popular everywhere – including places with angry zealots, pipe bombs, and IEDs. That is where the news often is.

I think being cautious overseas – or attempting to not stilt the results or a journalistic inquiry – can both be valid.

You definitely would not reasonably impose that reporters wear flags. And I certainly have not heard here that anyone was fired – for wearing one – or not wearing one.

Many of us are asked at work to wear uniforms… McDonalds, Staples, you name it. Are they being sacreligious in worshiping false idols – or simply trying to have a job? Are they being un-American for not includign the flag in the KFC apparel? Please!

Employees are also told what not to wear. Flip flops and shorts just may get you fired. For a navy seal or an under-cover police office, the cost of being obvious may be higher. The employer can ask – even order – such things. It is not necessarily our place to question or impose on how people run the minutiae of their business. Employees are usually free to leave stupid employers.

You are, of course, also free to boycott. Just take a moment to think a bit also. Loud should not happen until you have isolated complete truth – check the details.

I think that, if this really happened, there is probably more to the story – and someone is conveniently leaving parts out.. or they just don’t know any details but they needed their 15 minutes of fame anyway. Some people are in a hurry to act like authorities – many of them should be quiet and listen more.

I doubt this event is being fully explained. Corporations usually have a lot more context before they make public statements – or impose such policy – media companies in particular.

April 13, 2009 at 2:52 pm
(20) Barak says:

Who gives a crap about ABC News? Have you seen their ratings lately? Another dinosaur which has become pathetically irrelevant.

November 22, 2009 at 10:41 am
(21) Iggy says:

I think whether a person wants to wear a flag pin or not should be his or her decision,as in freedom of speach??

January 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm
(22) concerned american says:

Are we still in the United States of America? ABC, please let us know if this is a hoax? Better yet, anchor people, could you please comment. I’d like to know, I love your shows and want to continue to watch them.

March 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm
(23) flags for all says:

ABC (Atheist Broadcasting Company) They hide behind the flag everyday with freedom of speech acts. But yet cannot use their own freedoms to choose whether or not to wear a flag lapel pin? HIPOCRITES. Oh yeah, thats just good journalism. Ha Ha..GOD BLESS AMERICA and ALL people of the world.!!

May 7, 2010 at 3:59 pm
(24) Go Get'em says:

Let all those on ABC wear the American flag pin if this isn’t true.

May 17, 2010 at 8:18 am
(25) Larry Lowrey says:

I think the idea of banning patriotic insignia is an inddication of the wrong political image our country is presenting. It id a slap in the face of every American. Being proud of being an American as well as a Veteran I proudly support those who are as proud of being an American. We need to return to the Religious & political teachings of our Fouders. I make no apology for being a PROUD AMERICAN!

May 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm
(26) Dennis Heis says:

I can not believe any employer would or could have the rights to tell an employee they can not wear a lapel pin of the country they live in, work in and most like where born in.

May 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm
(27) Dave says:

If you can’t display the flag maybe you shouldn’t be living in the USA. I am a proud veteran and if I worked for ABC you would have to fire me because I would never take off my pin.

May 29, 2010 at 11:16 am
(28) Robert THE MAN says:


June 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm
(29) City of Orange says:

tcrossing is a liar. We called ABC in New York 2 days ago and the Secretary verified it, as did Disney. tcrossing must have a stake in ABC, but he/she is full of it. The headline IS a true story!!

November 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm
(30) Deb says:

The American people need to contact the companies that run Ads on ABC, and ban them. Where is there pride of country.

November 28, 2010 at 3:04 pm
(31) OB says:

ABC, NBC and CBS do not stand for lies, deceit and atheism. That’s nuts. And Fox isn’t exactly America’s unbiased news network. ALL of the networks are driven by advertisers rather than hard news: and it drives true newscasters crazy.

We choose to show what we believe in by what we say and what we do. If we are concerned, we need to get the facts, write to the people that matter, and stop slinging mud: how can we so easily be blinded to what matters, and instead be caught up in finger pointing? It makes Americans look like cry babies.

Be proud; be patriotic. Support others regardless of their differences. And put forth a united front.

December 20, 2010 at 6:59 pm
(32) S says:

Hey Pat,
Looks like the Tea Party is getting to you.
You and your far left wing, radical, hypocritical extremists, lost the 2010 election because of a guy who thinks only of himself and his legacy regardless of the best interest of the country, and with the full blessings from the extremists in his own party.
The loser now has to eat his words: “Elections have consequences, I won”………..He lost the election (was demolished) and as a result he’s quickly losing his party support!

June 16, 2011 at 10:33 am
(33) Larry valle says:

What a load of crap. How far will snopes go to protect the left? ABC either issued a directive in the last several days that their anchors were not to wear lapel pins, or they didn’t. Which was it? Don’t gloss it over saying they said that 8 years ago as well.

August 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm
(34) D Sanchez says:

Sad Sad day for our country. I guess I will not be watching ABC any longer.

August 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm
(35) Elvis is Alive! says:

You are a total moron. Did you even read the article?

September 3, 2011 at 9:35 pm
(36) Dwight says:

I will not be watching ABC any more. I hope this puts them out business. If you can’t stand up for your country and God there is nothing left.

September 3, 2011 at 9:41 pm
(37) David Emery says:


September 3, 2011 at 10:37 pm
(38) john st john says:

about 20,000 in north west airzona will never look at the trash on abc.

September 14, 2011 at 9:53 am
(39) Proud American says:

Our troops are out there watching our backs
and even knowing it could take their LIFE, they
protect this country! So I think it is only RIGHT
for the rest of us to show the troops some
appreciation WEAR THOSE FLAGS!

July 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm
(40) elsie sword says:

I didn’t realize we had sooooo many anti-Americans in the White House. What is wrong with the American people that they can’t see what is happening to us under the dictatorship of anti-American Obama. When they open their eyes it will be to late.

July 20, 2012 at 10:00 am
(41) Virginia says:

Don’t care if it happened 20 years ago….This is awful —-People should always if they want and should wear the pins…We are Americans,,,but notice that ABC only tell one side of every poltical story…Why is that? You can tell you are so loplided and don’t care if like Hillary giving another Billion dollars to Pakistan after the 2 billion we had already given them?—what about the obama slam against our middle class businesses?–What about the Dancing Horse slam to Mrs Romney?—-You are a communist promoter and encouraging racist, etc….I have a hard time missing DWTS, but the with the crap of the other promoting no values, spend money in government and just so over the rocks down in the flushed pooper…

August 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm
(42) Billy Brown says:

@tcrossing, what a croc…you have already been talked to….Switch sides for the mic or flag DUH…..liar…

August 27, 2012 at 9:34 am
(43) J bennett says:


September 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm
(44) Texasgal says:

It’s a sad day in America when Disney/ABC can dictate whether their reporters can wear an American Flag pin. Staying “unbuased” is not something ABC has achieved; with or with a flag pin ……they are always on the Left! And, come on, we all know this isn’t about being unbiased reporters. It is sheer lack of respect for our country. Just think of the affect this can have on our military; putting themselves in harms way to protect all that the flag of the United States stands for. What a slap in the face to them and every patriotic American. Shame in you ABC. May your ratings reflext your decison and “go down the toilet”!

October 18, 2012 at 8:49 am
(45) Boyd Kaiser says:


October 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm
(46) Bonnie says:

i will be wearing a american flag everyday i go to work…….i am very proud of my country and one who fought and die for my freedom……i will not watch abc anymore ……..

December 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm
(47) awesome nerd says:

This is so ludicris. Did ABC say they are banning flag lapel pins even in the U.S. of A.? Although this is kind of understandable since it’s an American symbol and our terrorist enemies can attack them, it doesn’t give ABC a right for banning flag lapel pins. But Disney owns ABC so I guess they are in this too. At least allow them to wear them in the U.S. I believe that we should be loyal to our country but not act like it’s a religion like the north koreans do. AND BTW FOR ALL INVOLVING PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IN THIS IN A NEGATIVE POSITION, HE’S NOT ANTI-AMERICAN OR ATHIEST. NOT A SELFISH PERSON IN POWER. YOU’RE JUST A RACIST GUY WHO’S HAVING PROBLEMS AND WANT TO BLAME HIM EVERY DANG PROBLEM YOU HAVE AND WANT TO TAKE YOUR ANGER OUT ON THIS. EVERYONE WHO ARE SAYING THEY’RE “BOYCOTTING” ABC. PROBABLY GOING TO WATCH REVENGE TONIGHT NOT THINKING THEY HAD THEIR NOSE UP IN THE AIR. AND do you guys need to go back to schoo? You spell like first graders!

February 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm
(48) Don Humphreys says:

What a ridiculous decision, I hope that advertisers leave you in droves..This is an insult to all patriotic citizens and for all the wrong reasons. So long ABC and shame on you

April 13, 2014 at 9:20 pm
(49) Grace Quinones says:

This is America and we are all Americans, this is such b.s., how dare they
tell them they can’t wear them. Who does ABC and Disney think gives them the most support. Anyone who lives here are Americans and if they don’t feel that way, then don’t live in America. I am getting so sick of this, I am one of a very large population that will be boycotting ABC and Disney. We were planning on a trip in June, we cancelled it. I hope this changes very soon.

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