Analysis of the
Media's Use of Techniques in Public Persuasion

A Media Awareness Project


The meaning behind NBC's edit of the Pledge of Allegiance

Posted by Roar of the Bewildered Herd on June 25, 2011 at 4:34 PM

The year is 1930. Students stand at their desks facing the American flag holding up their right arm straight forward with a slight incline towards the ceiling and they recite, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The hand over the heart did not replace the Bellamy salute until Italian fascists and Nazi’s started using the same salute as Americans. It was changed when Americans were being associated with Nazi’s. The words ‘under God’ were not in the pledge of allegiance until 1953. The people spoke out against the use of the Bellamy salute and the people demanded that ‘under God’ be added to our nation’s pledge of allegiance. Who was behind this change depends on who tells the story, but one thing was certain. The people exercised their right to be heard and to make a change.


Fifty-seven years later, Sunday, June 19th 2011, the US Open begins with a short video of school children reciting the pledge of allegiance being intercut with the military raising the American flag. However, this time - while their hands were over their hearts, they recited the words, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation with liberty and justice for all.” The words ‘under God’ and ‘indivisible’ were edited out, not once but twice, indicating it was intentionally edited out. Immediately, people took to their mobile devices, jumped on Twitter and tweeted their outrage. Within minutes, millions of people were talking about NBC’s intentional edit of the words ‘under God’ during the pledge of allegiance. They did not mention the word ‘indivisible’, just the words ‘under God’. Before the end of the broadcast, NBC announced that it had made a mistake and that they did not mean to offend anyone. However, the damage had already been done and the media made it an issue of politics. FOX made it an issue of the left leaning media’s agenda trying to remove God from our hearts and CNN made it an issue of just making a giant mistake about political correctness going too far.


Something that was not mentioned was why NBC tried to capitalize on a patriotic association with a golf tournament. What does watching a game of golf have to do with patriotism? Could this be an example of persuasion, making people feel that if they don’t watch golf, they’re not patriotic? It makes me think about the way supporting our troops is used to associate one with supporting the administration’s policies, which has nothing to do with supporting our troops. The one amazing thing that has come from all this is the importance of the people to speak out for what they believe and the importance of our mobile devices as tools to connect with others and exercise their democratic rights to make change. It’s clear how important it is to exercise your right and use the tools we have at our disposal to make change. It’s unfortunate that when you go to the Internet and watch the Fox broadcast about this fiasco, you have to watch a commercial about the AT&T and T-Mobile merger first. It’s ironic that the merger, which will most likely take away your ability to exercise your right as quickly and swiftly as it did on Sunday, is being advertised before the story of the NBC edit is even mentioned. Why is this story about connecting patriotism and golf not recognized as something inappropriate and manipulative? Why is a commercial for the AT&T and T-Mobile merger not being recognized and spoken about as WRONG? It seems everything is falling in line with Alex Carey’s idea that Corporate Propaganda is used by Corporate Power to protect itself from Democracy. If Net Neutrality is abolished, then Corporate Power will get its way. The corporate giant will control what is important information and what is not. It is Corporate Power that will allow the speed of information to be transferred from mobile device to mobile device. Do you think that the ‘under God’ NBC edit would have gone unnoticed? Roar of the Bewildered Herd thinks it would have. That is why we must ask these questions and stay the course of protecting our most important democratic tool of all time - the wireless Internet.

Categories: Propaganda

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