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 leaning,” wrote Drum in a Wednesday post. “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.”
Drum noted polling that indicated Republicans’ opinion of ESPN, which dipped in mid-2015 after Caitlyn Jenner received an ESPY award for “courage” but had returned to its previous level by a few months later, plummeted for several months starting a year ago after the channel fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling in the wake of his political comments. Those numbers have not recovered significantly. All that, Drum argued, means that ESPN’s “problem isn't liberalism in general” but rather the Schilling dismissal in particular, which “killed them” among conservatives.
“So politics is part of the answer after all,” asserted Drum. “But not a slide into liberal politics. Conservatives were mad because Schilling engaged in venomous conservative politics, and eventually ESPN fired him before he did something that could get them sued. Conservatives are always the victims, aren't they?”