Sunday, February 05, 2006

Remembering Gib Shanley

Gib was a Cleveland, OH sportscaster. He was good, and very popular for many years.



But it's the flag incident that most people remember best:
Some people will always remember Gib Shanley for the Iranian flag incident in November 1979. Of course, he hasn't forgotten it either.

A story ran on the 6:00 news about an Iranian burning the American flag. Gib was irate on two fronts, first that an Iranian was using the privileges of our constitution to destroy our flag and second that Americans stood by and watched it happen.

He knew the story was scheduled to repeat at 11:00, and he knew he had to do something. He tried to talk Don Webster into doing something with him, but they couldn't really come up with the appropriate reaction.

As the story aired at eleven he got angrier and angrier, and without thinking, when the camera came to him he grabbed the Iranian flag they had on the set and set it on fire! The burning flag and Shanley were only on camera for 12 seconds, but it will not soon be forgotten.

It was months later that he found out it was actually the Shah's flag and not the Iranian flag he burned.

Of course there was a flood of calls into the station, almost every one of them supported his action and praised his (and the stations) courage. "Today there would be law suits, a demand for a public apology and I'd be off the air, but things were different then. I had to promise not to do it again, but frankly, I suppose I would do it again today"
I looked for a copy of any images, but couldn't find any. Just now, I tried searching - flag burning - with various Middle Eastern countries in the search.

Do you know that I only pulled up images of AMERICAN flags burning? It's true. Apparently, no other flags have been the preferred choice of flag-burners. Or maybe they're made of asbestos (assuming the manufacturers are still allowed to sell it).

Good luck, Danes. May a Gib Shanley rise up among you - soon.

Tags = News and Politics

1 comment:

Lightning Man said...

There are certain moments that stick with you forever. Gib's unabashed support of the United States and the burning of that flag will always stay with me and inspire me. When I was a broadcaster, Gib was the kind I wanted to be.