Claim: President Obama ignored the death of Shirley Temple Black but ordered flags flown at half-staff for Whitney Houston’s passing.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, February 2013]
Rumor has it that President Obama put the flag @half mast for drug user Whitney Houston..but completely ignored republican diplomat Shirley Temple Black.
Origins: Title 4 of the United States Code, which outlines the role of flag of the United States, specifies occasions on which all government buildings, offices, public schools, and military bases are to fly their flags at half-staff, occasions which include the deaths of presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, justices of the Supreme Court, and state governors. As well, the President of the United States may issue proclamations directing U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff on other occasions, as was done in recent years for the death of Pope John
State governors may also direct all U.S. and state flags in their jurisdictions flown at half-staff to mark the death of state officials and
state residents who died on active duty as members of the armed forces. In some cases governors may also direct that flags be lowered to half-staff to honor the passing of other state residents prominent outside the areas of government and the military.
Shirley Temple Black, the world-famous child film star of the 1930s who passed away in February 2014, took a surprisingly different career turn in her adult life: She entered politics and unsuccessfully ran for Congress (as a Republican), then was appointed (by three different Republican presidents) as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations General Assembly, the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, and the U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. The President of the United States at the time of her death (Barack Obama) did not issue a proclamation directing national flags to be flown at half-staff on the occasion of her funeral, nor (as far as we know) did he issue any public statement about her passing.
Pop singer Whitney Houston passed away on
It is therefore not true that President Obama ordered flags throughout the country flown at half-staff to honor Whitney Houston while ignoring the passing of Republican ambassador Shirley Temple Black. As noted above, although President Obama made no public statement marking the latter’s death, neither did he direct the lowering of national flags to honor the
Last updated: 13 February 2014