Monday will be flag day for Cablevision employees after a dust-up between the Dolan brothers.
Pat Dolan, who runs the MSO's regional news operation News 12, told reporters to literally tone down the flag waving on the air. Worried about crossing the line from patriotism to jingoism in covering the terrorist attacks, Dolan instructed reporters not to wear American flags on the air and that they shouldn't be visible to cameras in News 12's newsrooms.
Word leaked out and News 12 was deluged with complaints. Pat Dolan responded in a statement that "we don't want anyone to get the false impression that our patriotic emotions cloud our reporting of the facts. We need people to be absolutely sure we'll be there to tell them what's happening. Whether it is good news or bad news, America must know the truth."
But Pat's brother, Cablevision president James Dolan disagreed and he ordered the company to buy flags to be distriubted to each of Cablevision's 24,000 employees. Flag waving has become so popular that Cablevision staffers had to scrounge before they found a supplier in Chicago with enough stock left. But Dolan said he he won't overrule his brother about the on-air use.
In a statement of his own, James Dolan said that "Though we may disagree with this judgment, we stand firmly by the importance of our news division making its own decisions about the content of its newscasts."
- John M. Higgins