It's not the anthem or the flag they're against; it's that we're not living up to the ideals they represent.
Whatever the topic, you can count on Fox News' Shep Smith to tell it like it is, and Trump's feud with the NFL is no exception.
While interviewing Politico's Rachael Bade during Monday's edition of "Shepard Smith Reporting," Smith stated what's obvious to many: The outrage from Trump and his base isn't about the flag, anthem, or military.
In recent days, a slew of news organizations (including Smith's colleagues at Fox) have claimed that the protests started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick were examples of players "protesting the national anthem," completely obscuring what's actually being protested — racism and injustice.
Smith used his show to correct that record.
"They're not protesting the national anthem. That's not what they're doing." GIFs from MMFA/Twitter.
In August 2016, Kaepernick explained the genesis of the protest. He and his fellow players are not protesting the flag or the anthem but, rather, the fact that we as a country are not living up to the ideals the flag is supposed to represent.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media at the time. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
"We're complicit," Smith said, acknowledging the way his own network helped muddle the meaning of Kaepernick's protest.
Smith points to Trump, his base, and Trump-friendly media organizations as the source of the uproar, twisting the actual issue being protested to distract from the fact that he's actually had a somewhat disastrous first eight months as president.
Policy-wise, not much has actually gotten done, Smith pointed out, so there's a need to ramp up phony wars with the press and with the NFL to frame him as a victim:
"It’s very clear that for [Trump's] base, this is the red meat of all red meat. Because they’re able to reframe this. They’re able to say, 'Oh, they’re attacking the national anthem, they’re attacking the troops. They’re attacking the flag.'
None of which they’re doing. They’re not doing any of that. They’re upset about racial injustice in the country and they’re upset about the things that the president has said — and yet he’s able to turn it around for his base. Isn’t this all a play to his base and could it possibly be so that they don’t notice there is no health care and North Korea’s the biggest mess since the Cold War?"