Fireworks: Ferguson Battles Stacked Liberal CNN Panel on ESPN’s Hill, Hysteria Over WH Reaction

Late Thursday’s CNN Tonight featured the liberal media’s continued hysteria with supposed White House authoritarianism toward the press and the politicization of sports through the lens of the anti-Trump tweets by fellow leftist/ESPN host Jemele Hill. 

Conservative talk radio host Ben Ferguson admirably took on the both deranged and pointed remarks from devoted liberals panelists in host Don Lemon, CNN political commentator Keith Boykin, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter, and USA Today columnist Christine Brennan.

Stelter knocked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for having “overstepped what’s normal from normal White House press secretaries” by not only commenting on Hill but stating her personal opinion that Hill’s comments about Trump being a white supremacist were a fireable offense.

“If we were to think back to Reagan or Clinton or Bush or Obama or any pass past modern presidency, we wouldn’t hear a White House press secretary say that or that it’s a fireable offense for what that person on TV said. However, we are in a different terrain and different place now with Sarah Sanders,” Stelter argued. 

After Boykin noted that the President has called a number of people racist (as a private citizen), Stelter dropped this eye-rolling statement: “It is chilling to hear a White House press secretary say that it’s a fireable offense, just to express an opinion, even if it’s an outrageous statement.”

Eventually, Ferguson spoke and he didn’t waste it, pointing out how the conversation has turned toward Trump when it should be first about Hill and ESPN:

You’re a sports anchor. You anchor Sportscenter. Let's be clear. One, she’s not a victim. Some people said [it's] so mean that people are talking about her. You go out there, you’re publicly are the face of their biggest primetime show Sportscenter, you tweet out and you think the President of America is a white supremacist and anyone that basically voted for him is also a white supremacist and her follow up tweets, you’re not a victim when you take the heat. The second thing is this, if you do sports, you do sports. If you represent a sports network and then you go over to politics and you call the President of United States of America a white supremacist, you’re not a victim. You’re an idiot for doing it.

Stelter interjected to lament that “[w]e’re not saying she’s a victim” even though the rest of the panel’s behavior throughout the two segments exhibited that. 

Ferguson responded by noting the massive double standard and arguing that Hill would have been fired if she had said something disparaging about Barack Obama.

Because the left loves engaging in the fallacy of moving goalposts or changing the debate, Lemon tried to bring things back to Trump spouting off about Obama while hosting The Apprentice.

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The panel returned after a commercial break with Lemon and Brennan showcasing how the left and their allies in the media have been and will continue to be ruthless in politicizing everything about human life for their selfish gain:

LEMON: But to say that sports is just about sports and nothing to do with politics, it has nothing to do with culture, I think Christine it is a bit disingenuous, especially if you look at one example, Jackie Robertson, and you see how sports have actually changed things when it comes to sports. It is not just about sports, is it? 

BRENNAN: Oh, no, Don, and in fact, the intersection of sports and culture, we are in the intersection more than ever we have been before. Whatever the topic might be. Ray Rice and domestic violence and Jerry Sandusky, the terrible issues at Penn State —

LEMON: And Colin Kaepernick. 

BRENNAN: — exactly. Kaepernick the NFL protest. In fact, just last week, I wrote a column that was on the front page of the USA Today where I talked about the NFL protest and I said in the wake of Donald Trump's dreadful response to Charlottesville and I used that term. And, so, there are many ways for sports journalist to deal with the issues in our culture that include, whether it’s the President, whether it be issues of domestic violence, performance-enhancing drugs, role models in our society, whatever it maybe, it is imperative for sports journalists in the 21st century to talk about these things. We’re not living in a vacuum. 

Ferguson stepped in and defended Kaepernick’s protests because at least his occurred on a football field (while Hill’s tweets were not):

What I think you’re doing there is actually dealing with issues that maybe on the field with Colin Kaepernick. It may be issues with domestic violence that are involved in the actual game or the people that are playing the game. There is a big difference...At least Colin Kaepernick’s protest, you know, obviously, was involving the sports arena, of course, that should be covered. Of course, it’s okay to talk about it. That is tweet literally because you hate the President of United States of America[.]

Later, Stelter complained that “conservatives are attacking ESPN and saying it's got a liberal bias...for many months” even though, in reality, they do. While the President cited ratings, the better evidence of ESPN’s demise has to do with the loss of subscribers and the layoffs.

Nonetheless, Stelter continued with a crazy line of thinking that we should sympathize with Hill’s comments because “a big part of the country agrees with her”:

It’s putting ESPN in a really tough spot. They say you cannot just stick to sports because sports are political. There’s a lot of political issues to cover. I think if Jemele Hill written an essay for her Sportscenter about this topic and it had read by her bosses and edited by and approved at a time, there wouldn’t have been this conversation.  The difference is spouted off on Twitter in a moment of passion, but I think we need to recognize. There’s a big part of the country that agrees with her, that feels the way she does and she is channeling that emotion and I think it’s hard for other folks to recognize that sometimes.

So, during the Jim Crow era, should civil rights activists have sympathized with Orval Fabus or George Wallace because they were articulating what a lot of people were thinking? 

Going in the other direction, why do the courts and liberal media berate Christian bakery owners for their refusal to participate in gay weddings when “a big part of the country” stand by the bakers?

One could go on all day with examples, but they just go to show how overly simplistic this is.

Boiling things down further, Ferguson replied to Stelter this way: “But, Brian, there are a lot of people that feel a lot of things. It doesn’t mean you get to say it when you’re an employee.”

Thursday night’s defense of making sports all about the promotion of progressive politics was made possible by CNN advertisers Chase, Elite Singles, TripAdvisor, and Vistaprint.

Here’s the relevant transcript from September 14's CNN Tonight with Don Lemon

CNN Tonight with Don Lemon
September 14, 2017
11:33 p.m. Eastern

CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Don, I know Jemele. She is a friend of mine and she’s actually an important voice in the sport media and in the culture. I think her comments about her regret as we have call her statement of regrets, I think says it all. That they were personal comment that she said that obviously she regrets that they cast a public light on ESPN and I think that says it. She said it. I don't think anybody could say it better than that. She regrets that happen and I take Jemele on her words as I have many, many years. 

DON LEMON: Brian, the White House Press Secretary, you know, and you’ve been covering this. said it was a fire able offense during press briefing. Did Sanders over step you think with that comment? 

BRIAN STELTER: She overstepped what’s normal from normal White House press secretaries. If we were to think back to Reagan or Clinton or Bush or Obama or any pass past modern presidency, we wouldn’t hear a White House press secretary say that or that it’s a fireable offense for what that person on TV said. However, we are in a different terrain and different place now with Sarah Sanders. Instead of saying, oh, she has the right of free speech but it is a fireable offense by ESPN. Now, ESPN is not firing Jemele Hill. I think it’s important to note they are standing by her. Yes, they say that she regrets it and, yes, they’ve accepted her apology. They're trying to move on here. I think that’s noteworthy given all the various outcomes that there could have been in this case.

(....) 

KEITH BOYKIN: Donald Trump tweets all the time and nobody fires him. Nobody is questioning everybody. He has called just about everybody a racist himself, including black people. He’s called Bryant Gumbel a racist. He’s called Barack Obama a racist. He called the movie Django Unchained racist. He’s said Blackish the TV show is racist. He even said Bryant Gumbel is a racist. He’s said a lot of people are racists, but anybody who criticizes him is unacceptable, that’s a fireable offense for them. It’s just a double standard and it’s unacceptable. 

LEMON: I know that —

STELTER: It is chilling to hear a White House press secretary say that it’s a fireable offense, just to express an opinion, even if it’s an outrageous statement.

LEMON: I will let you jump in, Ben, but I just want to say and I do know from experience that people of color on television who disagrees with him and the people around him will deem him as racist because, when you’re talking about the birther issue, if you challenge him about the birther issue, which most people in the country — most journalists in the country did, but those of African-American decent were deemed as racist if they brought up that particular issue. 

BOYKIN: The black people are who the racist is always. 

STELTER: Jemele Hill is not the first person to say Donald Trump is a white supremacist. 

LEMON: Go ahead Ben. 

BEN FERGUSON: Alright, let's take it back to ESPN here for just a moment. You’re a sports anchor. You anchor Sportscenter. Let's be clear. One, she’s not a victim. Some people said so mean that people are talking about her. You go out there, you’re publicly are the face of their biggest primetime show Sportscenter, you tweet out and you think the President of America is a white supremacist and anyone that basically voted for him is also a white supremacist and her follow up tweets, you’re not a victim when you take the heat. The second thing is this, if you do sports, you do sports. If you represent a sports network and then you go over to politics and you call the President of United States of America a white supremacist, you’re not a victim. You’re an idiot for doing it. I think my point is this. If ESPN —

STELTER: We’re not saying she’s a victim.

FERGUSON: — let me finish this because it is important. I don't think anybody is fired as long as it’s a consistent across the board policy of ESPN, that you can go out there and say anything you want to politically if you work for them because it is a double standard. With Sportscenter and ESPN, if this were someone saying this about Barack Obama, all of us know they would have been fired instantly. There would have been a public apology from ESPN and from ABC and say this does not reflect the views of the network.

LEMON: There were — there were people who said that. 

STELTER: This does not reflect the views of the network.

LEMON: It does not — but that — 

FERGUSON: But they have to and the tweets are still up, so it’s — it’s a — it’s a joke.

(....)

LEMON: Let me get my point out. Let me get my point out. This person, before he was President, led this birther movement, which many people deemed as racist. No one from the Obama administration or President Obama called for him or say it was a fire able offense from The Apprentice. So, why the double standard?

(....)

FERGUSON: Okay, the White House mocked him pretty well at the White House Correspondents Dinner. You had the president of United States of America —

LEMON: You’re comparing the White House Correspondents Dinner to the podium at the press briefing in America? 

FERGUSON: You had the President of United States of America that went on Jimmy Kimmel reading the mean tweets and read the one you will never be President, referring to Donald Trump who is now the President, so let’s not act like he didn’t play the game.

LEMON: So a joke on Jimmy Kimmel is the same — 

FERGUSON: Come on. You are still the President of the United States of America. 

LEMON: The joke on Jimmy Kimmel is the same as the briefing room were policy is? 

FERGUSON: Don — Don, you’re still the President of the United States of America. You can have a standard for the White House briefing room —

BOYKIN: Ben, you’re making no sense. You’re making no sense. 

FERGUSON: — no, you just don’t like what I’m saying.

(....)

FERGUSON: What I think you’re doing there is actually dealing with issues that maybe on the field with Colin Kaepernick. It may be issues with domestic violence that are involved in the actual game or the people that are playing the game. There is a big difference and I cannot believe I’m actually going to be defending Colin Kaepernick. At least Colin Kaepernick’s protest, you know, obviously, was involving the sports arena, of course, that should be covered. Of course, it’s okay to talk about it. That is tweet literally because you hate the President of United States of America and you go out there to say I don’t like him —

BOYKIN: It is not because you hate the President of the United States of America. It’s — 

FERGUSON: — so I’m going to call him a white supremacist and everyone who voted for him is a white supremacist. 

(....)

FERGUSON: You don’t have to call the President a white supremacist to not like him

(....)

STELTER: Ben, you know, conservatives are attacking ESPN and saying it's got a liberal bias. It is been going on for many months. 

FERGUSON: They do.

STELTER: It’s putting ESPN in a really tough spot. They say you cannot just stick to sports because sports are political. There’s a lot of political issues to cover. I think if Jemele Hill written an essay for her Sportscenter about this topic and it had read by her bosses and edited by and approved at a time, there wouldn’t have been this conversation.  The difference is spouted off on Twitter in a moment of passion, but I think we need to recognize. There’s a big part of the country that agrees with her, that feels the way she does and she is channeling that emotion and I think it’s hard for other folks to recognize that sometimes.

LEMON: And people are saying — people are saying —

FERGUSON: But, Brian, there are a lot of people that feel a lot of things. It doesn’t mean you get to say it when you’re an employee.

STELTER: Look, I’m with you that there are standards for ESPN employees. There are standards for CNN employees.

LEMON: — that’s exactly what he’s saying.


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