Labeled a legendary Texas sportscaster, Dale Hansen of WFAA-TV in Dallas has all the right progressive credentials to win this year's Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) Lifetime Achievement Award. Hansen is lauded as a sportscaster who never stuck to sports, and now he joins Tom Brokaw, Christiane Amanpour, Charlie Rose, Bob Schieffer and others as winners of the award. During his acceptance speech Wednesday, Hansen refuted President Donald Trump's assertion that the press is the enemy of the people.
Without mentioning President Trump by name, Hansen said it disgusts him when media are referred to as “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people.”
Hansen portrayed the press as truth-telling heroes:
"We are the people who tell the truth. We report the facts and we expose the lies. Do we make mistakes sometimes? Of course we do. But anyone – anyone – who is dumb enough to confuse the occasional media mistake with media bias would be dumb enough to confuse today’s weather with climate.
“We report the facts. We report the facts. We tell the truth and we expose the lies and if not us, who? We provide the checks and balance that is missing in America because we know the House members not nearly enough of ’em will do it. We know too many senators won’t do it. The cabinet has never done it. And we are the last opportunity to provide the check and balance because we are becoming perilously close to the day when our courts won’t do it either. We, ladies and gentlemen, being referred to as the 'enemy the American people' offends me because we are the sons and daughters of truck drivers and teachers. Cab drivers and cooks. We are the sons and daughters of those who work on our farms and in our factories.”
Philip Bupp, the news and soccer editor for the sports blog Awful Announcing, praised Hansen:
"In a time where 'stick to sports' is a growing sentiment, Dale Hansen shows how much that is just a fantasy. Sports has been political since the beginning, and people like Hansen are just more willing to talk about those sports-adjacent topics in an intelligent way. That’s why Dale Hansen was honored: for his decades of work as a sportscaster and never once sticking to sports."
Hansen is always honest, in Bupp's opinion. He's talked about "serious social and political issues that took place within the sports world and gave views that might not have fit with opinions many may have expected from a journalist in the Dallas-Fort Worth market." While Hansen has rightfully stood up against racism, many of his other views are clearly from the position of a left-winger.
For instance, Hansen supported the coming out of former football player Michael Sam and, as a veteran of the Navy, refused to characterize national anthem protests as disrespectful.
The Radio Television Digital News Foundation listed progressive bona fides that ensured more recognition for Hansen:
"He has also delivered a steady stream of social media messages that are the envy of his peers. Hansen’s razor sharp 'Unplugged' segments are must-see TV for North Texas viewers, as well as followers on the web.
"For example, in 2014 his commentary about University of Missouri defensive standout Michael Sam’s decision to publicly announce that he was gay struck a chord and was the toast of the Internet as Hansen was lauded for his candor, compassion and honesty.
"He takes great pride that he was honored at the annual LGBT 'Black Tie' event in Dallas in 2014 for the editorial, which also landed him a guest slot on Ellen DeGeneres’ popular syndicated talk show."
Hansen won two AP Sportscaster of the Year awards, along with three Texas Sportscaster of the Year awards, and 21 local Emmy Awards. He was inducted into the Lone Star Emmy Chapter’s prestigious Silver Circle in 2009. Left-tilting media organizations certainly love to honor their own.