NPR gets an earful after claiming Declaration of Independence is riddled with ‘flaws’ and ‘hypocrisies’
NPR has stirred up debate about the ‘flawed’ origins of the United States after the news outlet marked the July 4th holiday by tweeting out the Declaration of Independence – with some provocative footnotes.
It has become an annual tradition for the organization to mark Independence Day with a reading of the historic document, but this year’s rendition came with a disclaimer.
“[A]fter last summer’s protests and our national reckoning on race, the words in the document land differently… It famously declares ‘that all men are created equal’ even though women, enslaved people and indigenous Americans were not held as equal at the time,” the outlet, which receives public funding, explained.
This wasn’t NPR’s only grievance with the 245-year-old declaration. A reference to “Scotch & foreign mercenaries” was later edited out of the text, but “a racist slur about Native Americans” (a line denouncing internal strife provoked by “merciless Indian Savages”) survived the revisions. The document was also stripped of criticism of the slave trade in a bid to win support from southern colonists, NPR reported.Also on rt.com 'Black people still aren't free': Congressional 'Squad' member Cori Bush says July 4 is about freedom 'for white people'
On Twitter, NPR took a similarly critical approach towards the world-changing decree. The outlet prefaced a thread containing the full text of the document with the observation that it contains “flaws and deeply ingrained hypocrisies.”
In this thread of the Declaration of Independence, you can see a document with flaws and deeply ingrained hypocrisies. It also laid the foundation for this country’s collective aspirations — the hopes for what America could be. pic.twitter.com/znLSGKWLaj— NPR (@NPR) July 4, 2021
The commentary didn’t sit well with many on social media.
Others argued that NPR was being unfair, noting that any political document written more than two centuries ago will be considered flawed by modern standards.
No document written 250 years ago is going to withstand the standards of today. That is why the Declaration of Independence is a format of Independence and not a Constitution. The Declaration of Independence is not law and it is not the basis in which SCOTUS interprets the law.— The Centryst (@TheCentryst) July 5, 2021
For some, NPR apparently didn’t go far enough. A particularly zealous opponent of the text said that the Declaration of Independence was “signed by WHITE MEN IN WIGS and it’s a lie!”
There were also more nuanced takes, however. The document may have been flawed but it nonetheless “established the best hope for all of us,” one comment read.
Not everyone can hold two contradictory ideas at the same time — both it’s a flawed document, written by slave owner proclaiming all men are created equal — and it established the best hope for all of us, that one day we would live up to the idea that everyone is created equal.— Carl Testerman (@Carl59194973) July 5, 2021
NPR wasn’t alone in sharing a provocative interpretation of Independence Day. US Representative Cori Bush made headlines after suggesting that the holiday is about freedom for white people, but signifies “stolen land” and oppression for blacks.
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