Milking “Flag Flap” For Every Last Silly Drop

As the Rocky Mountain News reports:

The approximately 600 American flags handed to local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion chapters Friday were real.

The story behind them was either good politics or a political stunt.

The campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain claims the flags were among 12,000 left at Invesco Field after the last night of the Democratic National Convention. That’s when Barack Obama accepted his nomination as the Democratic presidential contender before an estimated 80,000 people who packed the football stadium Aug. 28…

A spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee calls the Republican version of events “absolutely false.”

“There were never any flags intended to be thrown away from our convention,” said Damon Jones. He later added, “None of our staff or anyone with our authorization disposed of any flags.”

The Republicans say this: After Obama’s speech, an Invesco Field contract worker noticed flags in and around trash dumpsters, a trash compactor and elsewhere.

The worker wishes to remain anonymous because he is not authorized by his company to speak to the media, said Tom Kise, regional communications director for the McCain campaign…

Jones said the Democrats did pass out 125,000 flags during the convention, which also took place at the Pepsi Center. The Invesco flags were in trash bags and handed out at distribution points throughout the stadium…

This is easily one of the dumbest apocryphal stories in the history of “silly season,” one that would ultimately make local Republicans look really awful if the press cared enough to ask the right questions. Numerous sources have confirmed to us that these flags were in no way intended for disposal, and the “black trash bags” ominously referred to throughout coverage of this story were the packages the flags were delivered in. Everyone present at either the Pepsi Center or Invesco Field during the DNC saw similar bags staged all around the arenas for distribution.

What’s more, the idea that the Democrats would throw away tens of thousands of pristine, unused flags two months before the general election is totally ridiculous–flags cost money, and are generally the most popular campaign prop in existence. What idiot would throw them away going into the heat of the season? It doesn’t make any sense.

Once a couple of simple details about this incident are clearly understood, along with the fact that the “worker” who “found” the flags is being kept anonymous by the McCain campaign, what’s really going on here is quite obvious: one of the cheapest political tricks in recent memory, and by the Rocky Mountain News’ accounting, grand theft:

Jones did not know the cost of the flags; Smith said they run about $2.75 apiece. At that price, 12,000 would cost $33,000.

Like we said — somebody was really going to throw away $33,000 worth of flags? Of course not.

Frankly, we’re amazed local reporters haven’t taken this story apart and dropped it right back in the GOP’s lap. But at the very least, any reporter continuing to “follow” this story at face value should be ashamed of themselves. This is stupid.

29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. One Queer Dude says:

    These folks are so far out of touch with reality, it isn’t funny anymore!

  2. redstateblues says:

    We already put this story to rest, but the fact that the News is still reporting on it as if what the McCain campaign is saying has even one ounce of truth to it is reprehensible.

    All this proves is that the Pols diarists and commenters are better journalists than one of the two major newspapers.

    • Libertad says:

      12,000 un-used flags, $33k of value, grand theft?

      Why has no one filed suit on this? Make the GOP come clean, subpoena their records.

      • Kevin Jones says:

        If they had proof that the flags were to be picked up, wouldn’t they have cited it in court by now?

        It could have been an oversight or an attempt to avoid storage and shipment fees on an oversupply. What does it cost to ship and store $30K of flags?

        It’s reasonable to believe that the party whose activists sue boy scout troops has a significant number of members who don’t know how to dispose of the flag. If the party didn’t tolerate such people, this would be less of an issue.

        • ClubTwitty says:

          that like saying GOP activists bomb women’s health clinics…

          Its a fallacy.  I’ll look it up and get back to you.  (Something about arguing falsely from a part to the whole).

          • ClubTwitty says:

            Description of Biased Sample

            This fallacy is committed when a person draws a conclusion about a population based on a sample that is biased or prejudiced in some manner. It has the following form:

              1. Sample S, which is biased, is taken from population P.

              2. Conclusion C is drawn about Population P based on S.

            The person committing the fallacy is misusing the following type of reasoning, which is known variously as Inductive Generalization, Generalization, and Statistical Generalization:

              1. X% of all observed A’s are B”s.

              2. Therefore X% of all A’s are Bs.

            The fallacy is committed when the sample of A’s is likely to be biased in some manner. A sample is biased or loaded when the method used to take the sample is likely to result in a sample that does not adequately represent the population from which it is drawn.

            • ClubTwitty says:

              Description of Composition

              The fallacy of Composition is committed when a conclusion is drawn about a whole based on the features of its constituents when, in fact, no justification provided for the inference. There are actually two types of this fallacy, both of which are known by the same name (because of the high degree of similarity).

              The first type of fallacy of Composition arises when a person reasons from the characteristics of individual members of a class or group to a conclusion regarding the characteristics of the entire class or group (taken as a whole). More formally, the “reasoning” would look something like this.

                1. Individual F things have characteristics A, B, C, etc.

                2. Therefore, the (whole) class of F things has characteristics A, B, C, etc.

              This line of reasoning is fallacious because the mere fact that individuals have certain characteristics does not, in itself, guarantee that the class (taken as a whole) has those characteristics.

              • ClubTwitty says:

                Description of Hasty Generalization

                This fallacy is committed when a person draws a conclusion about a population based on a sample that is not large enough. It has the following form:

                  1. Sample S, which is too small, is taken from population P.

                  2. Conclusion C is drawn about Population P based on S.

                The person committing the fallacy is misusing the following type of reasoning, which is known variously as Inductive Generalization, Generalization, and Statistical Generalization:

                  1. X% of all observed A’s are B”s.

                  2. Therefore X% of all A’s are Bs.

                The fallacy is committed when not enough A’s are observed to warrant the conclusion. If enough A’s are observed then the reasoning is not fallacious.

                Description of Poisoning the Well

                This sort of “reasoning” involves trying to discredit what a person might later claim by presenting unfavorable information (be it true or false) about the person. This “argument” has the following form:

                  1. Unfavorable information (be it true or false) about person A is presented.

                  2. Therefore any claims person A makes will be false.

                This sort of “reasoning” is obviously fallacious. The person making such an attack is hoping that the unfavorable information will bias listeners against the person in question and hence that they will reject any claims he might make. However, merely presenting unfavorable information about a person (even if it is true) hardly counts as evidence against the claims he/she might make. This is especially clear when Poisoning the Well is looked at as a form of ad Homimem in which the attack is made prior to the person even making the claim or claims.

                Description of Red Herring

                A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

                  1. Topic A is under discussion.

                  2. Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).

                  3. Topic A is abandoned.

                This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim.

          • bob ewegen says:

            women’s health clinic bombers are one of the most Republican oriented voting blocks of all, albeit a mercifully small one.

    • Pam Bennett says:

      Rove buys the flags, gives them to an operative, who then claims to have “found” them in a location that was supposed to be in the open, yet nobody other then the operative saw the bags for a full week, including the participants at least one other event at Mile High.


  3. ClubTwitty says:

    How many of the ‘Ten Commandments’ does McShameful believe in and how many does he believe he can violate?


  4. Go Blue says:

    The republican party lives in the gutters of Colorado

  5. DavidThi808 says:

    Change the subject to stupid non-stories like this.

  6. Laughing Boy says:

    Unfortunately for you guys, it’s still effective.

    Someone just fucked up and didn’t know about putting flags by a trash can.  Most of us know it’s just an oversight, but it’s thematic of how a lot of voters (incorrectly) view the party.

    • Go Blue says:

      I appreciate the honesty. 🙂

      • Laughing Boy says:

        But this is a pretty clear example of false outrage from your side.  It’s obviously just a stupid error, but it’s almost being made bigger by the calls to indict whoever grabbed them off the dock next to the trash a week later.  Honestly – none of my R friends has mentioned it once.  A non-issue.

        Do you hold the copyright on “Go Red”?  I figure you might need it in Nov.

        B’dump CH!

        Hey, where’s my ribeye?  Oh, yeah.  What was the bet, anyway?

    • RedGreen says:

      Hey, I park my lawn mower near my trash cans. If someone assumed I intended to throw it away and wheeled it off, I’d be pissed, and rightly so.

      The containers full of unopened flags were on a loading dock, which also happens to have trash barrels on it, because that’s where, you know, various people go to pick things up. Doesn’t mean reasonable people confuse the things.

      Just as Denver alleyways often have nice, shiny new cars parked next to the Dumpsters. Does that mean the McCain operative can instruct Boy Scouts to drive off in them and blame the Democrats?

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.