Tags: SC Church Shooting | ben jones | dukes | hazzard | cnn | media | confederate

'Dukes of Hazzard' Star, CNN Anchor Battle Over Flag's Meaning

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Jun 2015 05:59 PM

Ben Jones, who played the character Cooter on the hit television show "The Dukes of Hazzard" and later served in Congress as a Democrat from Georgia, got into an argument with CNN's Ashleigh Banfield over the meaning of the Confederate battle flag on Tuesday.

Jones currently serves as chairman of the Sons of Confederate Veterans heritage operations, and defended the use of the flag on top of the famed "General Lee," an orange 1969 Dodge Charger.

Jones, appearing on "Legal View," said the image on the car's roof was a "very positive context in a place where there was no racism."

As Banfield tried to cut in, Jones continued that the flag has also been seen also in positive context.

Talking Points Memo posted video of the interview onto YouTube.

Story continues below video.


"It's been used by racists, by horrible people such as this man in Charleston," Jones said, referring to Dylann Roof, a white man charged in the shooting deaths of nine black church members at Emanuel AME Church last week.

"You know, the Klan burns the Christian cross, and their flag is the American flag," Jones said. "Different context."

Banfield said she understands that the flag simply represents pride in his ancestry to Jones and others, but asked whether that pride should supercede other people's pain.

Jones said his pride is in the "great progress that the South has made," noting that he was involved in the civil rights movement.

"I fought the Klan, I got sucker punched, shot at, went to jail," he said. "But we changed America by changing the South and turning it from Jim Crow and segregation into the fastest-growing region in America."

Racism and slavery are not "the Southern sin," but the "American sin," Jones argued.

Banfield said she was offended by Jones' comments to CNN anchor Don Lemon that it was "cultural genocide" to remove the Confederate flag.

"My God, there was real genocide that went on is in the South, and black people died in the hundreds of thousands," she said.

Jones continued his defense, saying that most Confederate soldiers weren't fighting for slavery, because they didn't own any. He said the South was destroyed by the Civil War and was left to start from scratch.

"The South had been destroyed, and through all of that, through all of those resentments, through all of that segregation and white supremacy and all of that nonsense we've come through that," he said.

Banfield again voiced objection to Jones referring to white supremacy as "nonsense."

"I'm sorry, white supremacy is not nonsense," she said. "It just not even a week ago led to the mortal combat murders of nine innocent churchgoers."

Jones said 70 million people descended from the Confederacy and "y'all can't define us by the act of a demented hater."

Banfield insisted she wasn't defining anyone, adding, "I think evolution of thinking among the people, all the people, might be doing the defining, not me."

"Excuse me, are you saying my thinking isn't evolving? Is that what you're saying?" Jones shot back.

"No, I'm saying the definition didn't come from me," Banfield said, then cut to commercial.

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Ben Jones, who played the character Cooter on the hit television show "The Dukes of Hazzard" and later served in Congress as a Democrat from Georgia, got into an argument with CNN's Ashleigh Banfield over the meaning of the Confederate battle flag on Tuesday.
ben jones, dukes, hazzard, cnn, media, confederate, flag
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2015-59-23
Tuesday, 23 Jun 2015 05:59 PM
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