You may have heard from your outraged Fox-watching uncle about how evil Democrats flew a communist flag over the Washington state capitol.
Not surprisingly, Fox News got almost every fact about this story completely wrong.
A Chinese ambassador went to Olympia last week, so officials at the state capital did what they always do when a foreign dignitary visits: they raised the visitor’s flag alongside the U.S. and Washington flags as a goodwill gesture.A right-wing activist on Facebook complained, and that apparently reached Alex Jones. From there it went to fringe blogs, then WorldNetDaily, and then Fox News, which told its audience that “local patriots” were “not pleased” that a Democratic governor “decided to fly a Communist China flag … right between Old Glory and the state flag.”But if there’s no controversy, why did officials in Washington take down the Chinese flag after conservative media raised a fuss? That’s actually the funniest part.There’s a YouTube video – nearing 100,000 views – of the flag being lowered, which far-right activists pointed to as a “victory” for their cause. Wonkette spoiled their fun:We suppose it might be rude of us to point this out, but didja notice [in the YouTube video] that not a single one of the “patriot activists” does any actual hauling down of the commie flag? The guy taking down the flag is a state employee, what with the hardhat and the tools to open up the flagpole and crank down the flag. And the poor state trooper who is now going to get called a member of a quasi-paramilitary group is just the poor schlub who drew the honor of guarding the maintenance guy, not an anti-government activist who’s joining the “patriots” in defiance of Communist Gov. Jay Inslee. […]Again, as we confirmed with a call to Jaime Smith, Director of Media Relations for Gov. Inslee, the Chinese flag had been flying to honor the ambassador’s visit. She noted that it’s common protocol for national flags of visiting diplomatic and trade delegations to fly at the Capitol during official visits, as a routine show of goodwill. When the visit is over, the flag comes down. Totally normal, and the “patriots” had nothing to do with it.Apparently, a Scottish diplomat arrived in Olympia yesterday for a round of meetings, which means Scotland’s flag is now also waving in front of the Washington capitol building.Whether conservative media outlets freak out about this, too, remains to be seen.