By now, everyone whose zip code is not in Middle Earth or Narnia knows that NBC took some liberties with the Pledge of Allegiance. During NBC’s coverage of The U.S. Open golf tournament. They produced and played a patriotic montage of school children reciting the pledge. The words “Under God” were edited out both times the clip was aired. They apologized for this after being deluged by phone calls, emails, and criticism from reasonable, “Fair and Balanced” news agencies. What has gotten lost in the haze of outrage by the viewers is that this is the second time this spring that NBC has pulled this stunt.
On May 12th, NBC aired one of the season’s final episodes of their hit show, “The Office”. In the episode “Dwight K. Schrute (Acting) Manger” is temporarily promoted to the post of “Regional Manager”. As part of his new regime, Dwight forced his underlings to start the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. As the employees are reciting the pledge, the camera tightly focuses on the character Oscar Martinez. As the rest of the office recites the words, “Under God,” Oscar stands mute; a silent protest to the offending words.
Oscar is never portrayed as a buffoon in the mold of Tim Taylor of “Home Improvement” fame or Doug Heffernan from the “King of Queens”. Oscar is often the most intelligent and rational person in the office. To have the omission come from the smartest guy in the room means a whole lot more than if it came from his fellow cast member “Kevin Malone.” In the case of Kevin’s character, he is intellectually closer to Lenny from “Of Mice and Men” than he is Einstein.
While NBC is trying to apologize its way out of a corner (oddly enough none of the apologies actually cite the omitted words “Under God”), they seem to be hoping nobody noticed this earlier tip of hat to the Christian-hating left. The clip of Oscar refusing to say the pledge seems to have been removed from Hulu, and is not on the NBC website.
When something like this happens once in an NBC sports broadcast, it could be an editing mistake. Twice in that same sports broadcast, it is a conscience decision by the person in charge of that broadcast (a somebody who, thanks to the widespread outrage, will probably find themselves on the wrong end of Obama’s 9.1% unemployment rate). When the same thing happens again at a completely unrelated part of the NBC Empire, it is part of the corporate culture.