If you’re a conservative who’s also a sports fan, you’re probably well aware that ESPN, the 24-hour cable sports channel, has been accused of much liberal bias over the years, that’s led to the network shedding more than 10 percent of its 100-million-person subscriber base since 2010.
If you’ve ever watched ESPN, you likely may have scratched your head and wondered what all the blatantly political commentary and asides have to do with sports. Analysts have attributed ESPN’s political leanings to everything from its management’s predilections to the slant of ESPN (and ABC/Capital Cities) owner Walt Disney Corp., a heavyweight Democratic Party donor. Every time you turn the channel on, the clearly liberal political influence seems to get worse and worse.
Now, however, things may have reached a breaking point as, on September 12, ESPN host Jamele Hill tweeted that President Donald Trump is “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself with other white supremacists.” (She later deleted the tweet.) This is in spite of the fact that President Trump has many Jewish people, an Asian woman, an Indian woman and a black man in his cabinet.
Hill, who’s African-American, also labeled Trump a “threat” and a “bigot” before apologizing one day later — not for the white supremacist comment — but only for possibly construing that her viewpoint might have reflected that of ESPN, rather than her own opinion. “My comments on Twitter expressed my political beliefs,” said Hill in a statement. “My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”
As for the sports channel, it released its own statement that stated that Hill’s tweets “do not represent the position of ESPN.” The network later said it accepted Hill’s previous statement of apology. “We have addressed this with Jemele, and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate,” the network stated.
But for conservatives, the damage was already done. President Trump angrily tweeted, “ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Hill’s tweet was “one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make” and should be considered a “fireable offense by ESPN.” The next day she followed up by reiterating that “I think it was highly inappropriate, and I think ESPN should take action.”
All of this is even more puzzling coming on the heels of ESPN’s suspension of former host Linda Cohn in April after Cohn went on local New York radio and talked about some of the difficulties the network was experiencing. “They definitely overpaid for [much] of [their programming], whether it’s the NBA or starting up networks like the Pac-12 Network and the SEC Network,” Cohn said on the WABC “Bernie and Sid Show.”
“It’s well documented… They also didn’t see that they would lose all these subscribers [to competitors like Netflix]… but it was more than just that. Politics played a part, as did the network’s move away from strictly covering sports. I felt that the old school viewers were put in a corner and not appreciated with all these other changes. They forgot their core. You can never forget your core and be grateful for your core group.”
While these statements sound harshly critical, in examining each of them, one can see that they’re completely factual — ESPN did indeed overpay for NBA games and other programming; it’s one of the reasons why the channel has laid off hundreds of employees since the beginning of the decade. The network’s ratings have dropped precipitously while at the same time it’s lost millions of subscribers. Studies have confirmed that conservatives, in particular, have felt betrayed by the network’s blatant Leftist political bias and have quit the channel in droves.
Nonetheless, Cohn’s radio commentary got the attention of ESPN president John Skipper, who told the host — who had anchored more ESPN SportsCenter programs in the last 25 years than any other ESPN employee — not to bother coming back to work.
Needless to say, this decision was highly unpopular with the bulk of the channel’s staff. One prominent employee who wished to remain anonymous mused, “The guy running our company is not good at his job. When is he going to fire himself, instead of firing everyone else?”
Recently, other employees have noted the discrepancy between Cohn’s example and the case of Hill keeping her job. “If Jemele can say [what she tweeted] and Linda can’t say what she said, what kind of standard actually exists here? There isn’t one,” insisted one staffer. “There’s clearly a double standard. If you say things the company agrees with, you don’t get punished. If you say things the company disagrees with, you do get punished. Maybe even fired.”
Another employee claimed, “If I’d said Obama got elected because he was black, is there any way I’d still be employed here? No chance. But Jemele can say Trump got elected because of white racists, and no one does anything. They protect the people they agree with politically. They give them better jobs, more money — everyone can see it.”
Other staffers claim to be pretending to be Democrats in order to keep their jobs and said that they feel like they’re in a “secret society.”
A few of them, however, seem to have had enough of their act. “I’m tired,” one said with an air of exhaustion, “of pretending this company is not full of s***.”
~ American Liberty Report