In response to criticism on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" of his Oct. 20 highlighting of a picture of Barack Obama standing without his hand over his heart at a campaign event during what he first claimed was the Pledge of Allegiance (later corrected to the national anthem), Mark Finkelstein wrote a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post defending his original item.
Fineklstein complained that "the MJ panelists and the Obama campaign have seized on the fact that it was the anthem and not the pledge to excuse Obama's failure to put his hand over his heart. That is a distinction without a difference: the tradition is to place the hand over the heart for the anthem as well as for the pledge." Actually, there is a arguable distinction: it's somewhat more accepted (rightly or not) to not put hand over heart for the national anthem, as the crowd at any given sporting event can attest.
Finkelstein then insisted:
I don't question Barack Obama's patriotism, though it is obvious that he's not enthralled with certain traditional expressions of it that many Americans appreciate.
That's a tad disingenous. By making the effort to highlight this photo on a conservative website, Finkelstein absolutely was questioning Obama's patriotism -- as indicated by the number of comments on the post citing the photo as evidence that Obama is unpatriotic. It's also indicated by his statement that "I found it jarring that Obama, asked about it, went out of his way to state 'I won't wear that pin on my chest' because it was 'a substitute for I think true patriotism.'"
The whole point of conservatives like Finkelstein making a big deal out of Obama not wearing a flag pin or not assuming a specific position during the national anthem is, implicitly or otherwise, to question his patriotism. If not, why bring it up in the first place?
UPDATE: Finkelstein's post has apparently morphed into an anonymous email that (falsely) accuses Obama of not having hand over heart during the Pledge of Allegiance and (presumably) questions his patriotism. In debunking it, the Washington Post has found photos of Obama with his hand over his heart -- which seems to contract Finkelstein's suggestion that Obama hasn't been acting in a patriotic enough manner on the campaign trail. Will he let his NewsBusters readers know about this?