New York Times Frets About 'Political Overtones' of Airing National Anthem on TV


The national anthem is now being played daily on over 350 television stations around America, and one New York Times writer is concerned about it.

On Wednesday, The Times ran an article reporting on a recent trend of local TV stations airing the anthem with accompanying videos of recognizable landscapes and other quintessentially American scenes.

The newspaper also characterized the practice as potentially divisive.

“Broadcasters bringing back ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ as a daily feature say they are encouraging unity, but the song can also be a dividing line,” the article’s subhead declared.

Times culture reporter Julia Jacobs wrote that “some viewers might hear political overtones” in the playing of the anthem.

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Much of Jacobs’ reporting centered on Gray Television, which operates 145 stations across the country, according to The Times.

“Stations owned by Gray … play the company’s national anthem video in the early morning, typically around 4 a.m,” Jacobs wrote.

The sentence raises a question: If the anthem is being played at an hour when most Americans are still asleep, how has it inspired enough controversy for The Times to run a story on it?

And what are the song’s “political overtones”?

Watch Gray’s anthem video below. See if you can find the controversy for yourself.

National Anthem

WEAU will join our Gray Television sister stations in 93 television markets across the United States of America by starting its broadcast day by airing a video presentation of the National Anthem. Each day, just before 4:00 a.m., you can hear the Star Spangled Banner and watch inspiring images from across the country.

Posted by WEAU 13 News on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

According to Jacobs, “overt allegiance to ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ has become one of the lines that separate blue and red America.”

Do you think the national anthem should be controversial?

The reporter cited the now-common phenomenon of kneeling during the playing of the anthem, a movement popularized by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as evidence of the anthem’s status as a fault line in American culture.

The national anthem ought not to be controversial. It ought not to be partisan. Its lyrics should unite Americans in love of country, not encourage their division into factions.

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Sadly, media outlets like The Times are only making “The Star-Spangled Banner” more polarizing.

Publishing a story alluding to the anthem’s supposedly “divisive” nature can only exacerbate any right vs. left, Republican vs. Democrat or red vs. blue rifts already present in America. TV stations choosing to air the national anthem is not news fit to print.

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