Debate Magazine

Flag Propaganda 3: Conyers, Georgia and Old Glory

Posted on the 11 April 2015 by Doggone
Flag propaganda 3: Conyers, Georgia and Old Glory
We have, almost on cue, another couple of flag propaganda stories.  Flag propaganda stories are where the right wing propaganda 'machine' cranks out stories designed to gin up outrage, and to create an us vs them mentality.  This is essential for any call to 'take back America' to work in the 2016 election cycle, because unless there is a segment of America to hate, there is no one to oppose vehemently or violently.  The story and the propaganda agenda needs a villain, a bad guy, a Snidely Whiplash with a flag.
These stories are really not news; they are given a slant and an emphasis that the subject content does not merit, and then they are reported in a biased and incomplete and inaccurate way to create the desired manipulative effect.  They are generated on a regular basis, the predictable repetition of the big lie being told over and over until it is taken as true, when it is false.  I started looking for the 'next' flag propaganda story a week ago, figuring once the Easter holiday was over, given the candidate declarations (specifically the KIND of declaration they made) that we would be seeing more flag propaganda.
The right wing propaganda manipulators did not disappoint.

73-Year-Old Veteran Is Ordered to Remove His American Flag From Flag Pole Outside His Home–REFUSES

73-year-old Tony Cumberworth fought for our country in Vietnam and in his own words is a “proud veteran.” But that didn’t stop a homeowner’s association in his Georgia neighborhood from demanding that he remove his flag pole and U.S. flag from his yard.
Cumberworth’s flag and pole has been in his yard for 20 years and never once has he had a complaint. But this week the association sent him a notice that if he didn’t remove his flag and flag pole he would be charged $50 a day in fines until he does.
The veteran told the TV folks that he scoured the association’s contract and could find no mention of flags and flag poles in it.
And asked by a local TV news station, this proud veteran said he refused to remove his flag.
He also proudly proclaimed that he wouldn’t pay these people a penny for his flag.
When the local TV folks started asking members of the homowner board what they heck their problem was… well, unsurprisingly they refused to talk about it. But the did suddenly send Cumberworth an email saying…
Please disregard the code violation notice. It was sent to your home in error.
We truly thank you for your service in Vietnam and your American flag can stay in your yard as long as you desire.
Yeah. “A mistake.” BS. They just got called out is all.
This was never a real story.  There does not appear to EVER have been a notice sent to this man specifically about his flag or flag pole.
You can easily tell a real story from a fake story, because of the lack of details (we do not know for example if there was a mass mailing to HOA members about displays), and most of all because it will pop up exclusively on many right wing sources, always the same propaganda machine members, but not in legit news.  I was struck with this story by the absence of the content of the notice to Cumberworth, and the absence of an inquiry as to anyone else receiving a routine notice about displays.  It seems highly improbable to me that after 20 years, suddenly a flag and flag pole would be non-compliant with HOA rules; rather it is more likely this was a semi-regular generic notice.  It also explains why the HOA has no idea what this fuss was all about, and it is consistent with the pattern of flag propaganda.   Typically the way these stories go is that a false narrative is started on the right, on sites with no journalistic ethics or professional standards, and where accuracy and equal coverage of more than one side, and multi-sourcing are ignored in favor of a manipulative agenda that consistently misinforms and misleads.  Their hope is that legitimate media might notice, and then become curious -- which is what appears to have happened in this case.
  Home Owners Associations are not a threat to America (however petty they might sometimes be.)  But they are not anti-American; rather they get tasked with issues like changing civil ordinances relating to boring, tedious issues like fire department access and other minutiae like the size and type of displays.  Home Owners Associations are not government, they are voluntary groups.  At no point did the HOA refuse to answer questions.  They offered to get back to the media with specifics because the person queried did not have an immediate answer available about this particular complaint.
  HOA try to manage issues like dealing with how well maintained lawns are kept in order for everyone who belongs to the HOA to keep up the value of their properties.  This is about the people who annoy their neighbors by still having up their Christmas displays in July including scruffy looking snow men, or similar behavior, not insidious attacks on patriotism, or the favorite manipulative touchstone of the propagandist, the grumpy old veteran.
  This should never have INVOLVED television crews.  There is no evidence whatsoever that the HOA was unreasonable or unresponsive in promptly correcting their errors; it would not surprise me to see that these emails are sent out routinely any time someone complains.  What does appear to be involved is that some old codger, who did not really have a significant problem, got undeserved attention for a non-issue.
  There is no attack on America; there is no insidious movement of unpatriotic Americans (OR maybe secret foreigners like our falsely alleged Kenyan president) attempting to do dirt to the flag or those who are patriotic veterans.
  THIS IS PROPAGANDA from the right; the right are gullible sheep who consume it, get angry, and want to shoot someone - or to give money to charlatans and crooks who take advantage of them after they are primed by this rubbish.  It is fake, it is a LIE, and NO ONE who is a person capable of critical thinking should find it credible, or act on the basis if this false version of events.

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