I recently received an e-mail from journalism professor Todd Reilly about what he calls "the lockstep lemming patriotism" he sees at FOX News.

"I find it discomforting that you all wear flag pins and flagrantly show your bias. Don't you have obligations to be journalists first, and super patriots later?"

No, professor. I don't.

I can't speak for my colleagues and friends on the Channel — some of whom wear pins or talk up America. Some of whom don't. That's their call.

But, here's mine. I am not a journalist first. I'm an American first.

Hear me clearly, professor. I'm an American first.

Nothing I have now or do now would be remotely possible if not for the country this flag represents. I know some journalism professors like yourself quake when you hear this. But you are not the center of the Universe. And neither am I.

You can pursue the facts without surrendering your heart, professor. And you can love your country and your profession. I do.

You go on to point out that I've never served in the military, so I have no right to be so gung-ho. You're only half-right.

No, I didn't serve. A quirk of birth, I guess. Others, far braver, did that heavy lifting for me. Folks like my father, a World War II veteran.

But here's where you're wrong, professor. It's precisely because I didn't have to serve that I appreciate those who did and do. You don't have to be in the parade to appreciate the parade.

I'm not above saluting the veterans I see, or rallying around the causes they hold dear. That's not a journalist telling you that. That's an American telling you that. And a grateful one at that.

You know, journalists get so busy saying they got you, that they never take the time to simply say thank you.

Professor, you say you'd fail me in your class. You know something? I'd consider that a badge of honor.

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