Holy Crap, the Free Press just “both-sidesed” the Confederate Flag

As a person who hasn’t gotten around to canceling their increasingly-irrelevant subscription to the Burlington Free Press, I get its daily briefing in my inbox. And today’s edition greeted me with THIS.

That’s right, the former Best Newspaper In Vermont is peddling Stars “N Bars claptrap right out of the Nikki Haley playbook. “Some argue the Confederate battle flag is racist”??????

And to be clear, this isn’t simply a case of some intern carelessly writing a subhead for the daily email. That same idea is peddled throughout the story.

The flag has come under national criticism in recent years, seen at events such as the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Um, exsqueeze me? “In recent years“??????? That rag has been the banner of racist oppression since Appomattox.

The germ of this idea comes from Paul Searls, history professor at Northern Vermont University (which I will always think of as Lyndon Johnson U, don’t @ me). He asserted that the flag may not carry the same overtly racist message up here that it does in the South.

Some Vermonters might view the Confederate flag as a symbol of ideals and their lifestyles, Searls said, and fly as a symbol of resistance against the existing order and outsiders perceived as threats to their well-being.

Yeah, well, those Vermonters are ignorant of their country’s history and shouldn’t be given a free pass for such.

Searls did also describe the battle flag as “a potently provocative symbol,” so there’s that. And the article does finally come down on the side of “the flag is inherently a bad thing.” But in the process, it sets up a false “debate” that the S&B can be anything other than a toxic instigation. Thanks, Free Press!


6 thoughts on “Holy Crap, the Free Press just “both-sidesed” the Confederate Flag

  1. ron jacobs

    Searls should know better. The idea that the flag isn’t considered racist in Vermont is not only foolish, it’s just plain incorrect. Any idea that it means something besides racism and celebrating the heritage of slavery is certainly ignorant on the part of those who fly it or wear shirts emblazoned with it. For Searls to act like this is a legitimate use of the flag is historically ignorant and offensive..

  2. Stephen Beck

    There appears to be a discussion playing out right now on the Confederate flag on Middlebury’s Front Porch Forum. It truly makes my head explode. And the Free Press? It is no longer a newspaper. It’s garbage. I happen to know, not well I will add, a member of the Board of Directors of Gannet, formally the Chief Legal Officer. And the dumbing down of AmeriKa continues!

  3. Robert Roper

    Just a little historical FYI, that flag is not the “Stars & Bars.” It is the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. The “Stars & Bars” was the first national flag of the Confederacy, and it consisted of three wide (two red and one white) stripes or “bars” with a blue canton in the corner and each state represented by a star — essentially an American flag with three “bars” instead of thirteen stripes. The Stars & Bars was quickly replaced, because in battle it looked way too much like the Union flags and this caused much confusion about who one should be shooting at, or not. Next came “The Stainless Banner,” which featured a square battle flag canton in the corner on an otherwise white field. This was a failure because without the benefit of a good wind it looked an awful lot like a flag of surrender, which led to even more confusion on the battlefield. So they added a thick red stripe along width of the end of the flag, but by that time Sherman was putting the torch to Atlanta, so I’m not sure anyone noticed or cared. The original flag of secession was the “Bonnie Blue Flag” which featured one white star centered on a blue background. Not sure this has much to do with the substance of your post, but valuable info for trivia night at the local bar.

  4. walter carpenter

    That the Free Press did this is sad and further indication of its decline. I cancelled my subscription and refused all offers to other Gannet publications. That stars/bars is the symbol of slavery and the system that fought to maintain it.

  5. Paul Searls

    Hey folks, I’m a native Virginian, I know exactly what the flag means. The article distilled an hour-long conversation into soundbites. But I told the author that 1. the Confederate flag is a symbol of white supremacy, and 2. flying flag in Vermont makes absolutely zero sense. If it didn’t come out in the article that way, I guess that’s the way life works sometimes.


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