Conservatives not welcome here. That's what one former ESPN employee is saying after she was a victim of the sports network's layoff of 100 people two months ago today. New York Post reporter Hannah Withiam writes of conservative Britt McHenry's complaint about her ex-employer in a time when ESPN is stubbornly defending its liberal brand.
Maybe it’s time ESPN just goes ahead and makes it official by registering as a political action committee. It should register under the title of LEFTSPIN and drop all pretention of honest reporting. The sports network is flagging in viewership while surging under the banner of left-ism. The latest evidence is the promotion of Connor Schell, a hardcore, Trump-hating Democrat, to the role of executive vice-president.
With Colin Kaepernick confined to the NFL's desert of unsigned free agents, Michael Bennett has clearly assumed the mantle as the league's most controversial player. Alleging this week that the NFL is too white, he is now writing his way to controversy, too. ESPN writer Sheil Kapadia revealed that Bennett is releasing a book, "Things that Make White People Uncomfortable," late this year.
A month ago ESPN commissioned a viewer survey by Langer Research Associates, and ESPN Front Row’s Barry Blyn concluded the sky is not falling: Approximately two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents believe ESPN is getting it right in terms of mixing sports news and political issues. Another 10 percent had no opinion … and 8 percent said ESPN does not do enough politics in its programming.
Deadspin, the perpetual cactus in ESPN’s side, had a field day with the sports network’s phony-baloney performance before advertisers in New York this week. Kevin Draper and Laura Wagner pointed out a huge gap between what’s going on at ESPN and the façade its brass displayed to advertisers.
Long-time ESPN veterans and untouchable survivors of multiple layoffs, Jeremy Schaap and Bob Ley say sticking to sports will not work in the modern world of sports. Ley also says, according to Travis Waldron of The Huffington Post, that those who say ESPN is too political are hypocrites.
Ever since ESPN sacked 100 on-air employees and sent them packing April 26, conservatives and leftists have debated the reason for the network's latest round of layoffs. "Chord-cutting," say those on the Left, as well as ESPN management. "Radical turn-off politics," say the conservatives.
Our recurring joke - that is itself a ceaselessly recurring joke - is when we mention the “Media-Left,” we always follow it with “please pardon the redundancy.” The Media-Left merger is now seamless. I could hand you a New York Times article and a Daily Kos article - and you would be hard pressed to determine which is which (aside from the latter’s propensity for profanity).
As Rush Limbaugh repeatedly points out - the Media are the horse, the Left merely the cart the Media drags along behind. And the Democrat Party is the inert, inept product in the cart - dragged along by both.
At one time officially, and since then unofficially, the “S” in “ESPN” stood for “sports,” and, according to Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum, that’s entirely fitting. As for the frequent complaint from conservatives about the channel’s liberal bias, Drum says, “I don't really get it...I'm not a heavy ESPN viewer, but I watch enough to have some sense of its political leanings. And I haven't really discerned much. Mostly they seem to call games and then argue about whether Tom Brady can play football into his fifties. You know, sports stuff.”
ESPN's determination to dig its own grave continues to move at high speed. On Tuesday, SportsCenter 6 co-host Michael Smith intensely overreacted to the racist actions of a small contingent fans at a Major League Baseball game at Boston's Fenway Park, using what they did to tag every city in America as "racist."
Ever a glutton for punishment, ESPN is not ready to change its self-defeating ways. Dramatic losses in business and the jettisoning of 100 employees last week are only leading to continued defiance.