On Tuesday, Newsweek published an op-ed that demands yet another allegedly racist flag be torn down. Rick Perlstein, however, was not referring to the Confederate battle flag. He was, instead, referring to the easily recognizable black-and-white POW/MIA flag, a banner designed to remember those who have not returned from armed combat.
“You know that racist flag? The one that supposedly honors history but actually spreads a pernicious myth? And is useful only to venal right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage?” Perlstein wrote. “It’s past time to pull it down.”
“Oh, wait. You thought I was referring to the Confederate flag,” he added. “Actually, I’m talking about the POW/MIA flag.”
Perlstein never explained what made the flag “racist,” nor did he fully explain what made it a flag of “hate.” He did, however, managed to anger a number of people by claiming that former President Richard Nixon invented what he called “the cult of the ‘POW/MIA’ in order to justify the carnage in Vietnam in a way that rendered the United States as its sole victim.”
The article and the tweet promoting it prompted a great deal of anger. “Patriotism = ‘A FLAG OF RACIST HATE,'” tweeted blogger Robert Stacy McCain. “Reactionary leftism has officially jumped the shark,” said another Twitter user.
“So the POW/MIA flag is also racist? Congrats on the clicks, @Newsweek,” added another Twitter critic. “I’d pay good money to see the writer go up to some of the guys displaying that flag during Rolling Thunder and call them racists,” one person tweeted.
One person noted that articles like Perlstein’s demonstrate why print magazines are losing readers and going out of vogue. Those commenting on the article also expressed their displeasure, with one person expressing hope Perlstein die. “I might not have a Phd, but I DO have a DD-214!” one reader said.
It’s not the first controversial article produced by Newsweek, and chances are, it won’t be the last. In 2010, the magazine published a cover that dubbed President Barack Obama “god of all things,” depicting Obama in a pose reminiscent of a Hindu deity.
After the 2012 election, Newsweek depicted Obama as “Napoleonic” while dismissing the GOP as “old,” “white” and “history.” In early 2013, the magazine called Obama’s second inauguration “the second coming,” an apparent reference to the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Perlstein concluded his article by making what appears to be a reference to the Confederate battle flag. “We’ve come to our senses about that other banner of lies,” he said. “It’s time to do the same with this.”
Twitchy reminded readers that the National Review published an article last year piece on Perlstein entitled, “Possible Plagiarist, Definite Jerk.” In that article, Tim Cavanaugh wrote: “For what it’s worth, fellow leftists seem to find him insufferable as well.”