It didn't take ESPN.com long to attack Tim Tebow in its piece about him being traded to the New York Jets.
In the very first sentence, the football star was referred to as a "polarizing quarterback":
Unusually quiet in recent weeks, the New York Jets shattered the calm Wednesday by completing a trade for polarizing quarterback Tim Tebow, the team confirmed.
The Jets will send a fourth-round pick to the Denver Broncos, a source said.
Polarizing? Why, because he's overtly Christian?
Even odder, well into the piece we find out that this "polarizing quarterback" might actually be a good thing for the Jets.
"There's also some thought that Tebow and his clean-cut image could help polish the negative perception of the locker room, torn by discord last season."
If that's the case, why not begin the piece with this positive aspect of Tebow going to the Jets?
Far better to lead with him supposedly being "polarizing" I guess.
*****Update: Denver Broncos beat writer Dan Karpiel responded to this piece by email (with permission).
Noel - I think you're smelling smoke where there is not necessarily fire on your Newsbusters.org blog post titled "ESPN Leads With 'Polarizing Quarterback Tim Tebow.'" As a sportswriter who covers the Denver Broncos, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Tim Tebow IS a polarizing figure - as a football player. Some strongly believe he has the tools to succeed as a NFL QB, others equally-strongly believe he does not. Did you contact or attempt to contact Rich Cimini, Jane McManus and/or the AP writer(s) who contributed this report to ESPN.com and ask for clarification of their intent?
While examples of liberal and anti-Christian bias are legion in sports journalism, particularly at the four-letter, I do not think this is a meaningful example of such bias. I'm afraid that you are over-reacting here. Like many of Tebow's supporters, you're taking valid and legitimate criticism of his ability to play quarterback as being anti-Christian. That's not the case; I'm assuming the writers of the article were referring to Tebow's play on the field as polarizing rather than his politics or religion. I myself have criticized Tebow's play and his potential to be a "franchise quarterback" in my writing and I'm a devout Christian and a TEA party conservative.
I ordinarily would not spend time contacting you on this matter however, again as someone who is intimately acquainted with the Denver Broncos, over-reactions such as yours have done Tebow far more harm than good. John Elway, the Broncos' football executive and a well-known conservative Republican, traded Tebow to the Jets today because, in addition to his inability to play QB at a level that the Denver hierarchy believes is necessary to win a Super Bowl, brings with him a plethora of fans who overreact (much as you have) to any criticism - valid or invalid, biased or honest, fair or unfair - of the young man. Elway and his staff were no longer willing to deal with those headaches and those distractions. They do not want their new QB Peyton Manning, himself a strong Christian conservative whose charitable giving outdoes Tebow's by several orders of magnitude, to have to deal with the unfair treatment by Tebow fans (who aren't necessarily football fans let alone Broncos fans) as well.
I understand it's your job to find and expose media bias. I read Newsbusters daily and I enjoy, appreciate and respect the vast majority of the work you all do. I just thought that you might be jumping the gun a little bit on this one and figured that, as an observer who is well-informed on this matter, I would take a few minutes to explain my viewpoint. I hope you do not take anything I say the wrong way.
Best wishes and keep up the good work.