“We are not a political organization,” begins ESPN’s mea culpa. Who knew? “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” certainly had us all fooled! Company President John Skipper issued a “memo” to ESPN employees yesterday admitting the network committed a violation earlier this week when Jemele Hill charged the president and his supporters with racism.
Arthur Weinstein, of The Sporting News, reported the memo came the same day that President Donald Trump attacked ESPN in a tweet, saying, “ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers. Apologize for untruth!”
Mischaracterized as a “memo,” ESPN actually posted a blog message responding to the “nuclear tweetstorm” by Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN’s 6 p.m. SportsCenter, blasting President Trump and his supporters “racists” and “white supremacists.”
Weinstein wrote, “Hill’s words drew both praise and condemnation, but took ESPN far outside of sports into the political world. Skipper’s memo appears to be an attempt to remind staffers of the network’s core mission, and that the network is ‘committed to inclusion and an environment of tolerance …'”
ESPN public editor Jim Brady authored the “memo” “to remind everyone about fundamental principles at ESPN.” He confessed, “We had a violation of those standards in recent days and our handling of this is a private matter. As always, in each circumstance we look to do what is best for our business.”
Brady’s post clearly appears to be an excuse for not sticking to sports. Headlined “ESPN awash in rising political tide”, the post is not an internal memo to employees, but a public call to justify it’s excursion beyond sports and into politics. Brady writes:
Of course, sports is intertwined with society and culture, so “sticking to sports” is not so simple. When athletes engage on issues or when protests happen in games, we cover, report and comment on that.
ESPN is not a political organization. Where sports and politics intersect, no one is told what view they must express.
That’s a statement begging for belief because of the liberal litmus test guiding ESPN’s history of disciplining employees. Conservative employees Curt Schilling and Britt McHenry are gone. Linda Cohn was suspended for recognizing ESPN’s liberal bias. African-American Jemele Hill remains in place as a co-anchor after insulting half the nation and the POTUS.
Brady re-directs the mea culpa to a favorite liberal topic — diversity. “We are committed to inclusion and an environment of tolerance where everyone in a diverse work force has the equal opportunity to succeed. We consider this human, not political. Consequently, we insist that no one be denigrated for who they are including their gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual identity.”
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The canning of Schilling and McHenry disprove the claim that “everyone in a diverse work force has the equal opportunity to succeed.” Brady added:
We have issues of significant debate in our country at this time. Our employees are citizens and appropriately want to participate in the public discussion. That can create a conflict for our public facing talent between their work and their personal points of view. Given this reality, we have social media policies which require people to understand that social platforms are public and their comments on them will reflect on ESPN. At a minimum, comments should not be inflammatory or personal.”
Weinstein noted that ESPN admits it needs to encourage more political diversity. ESPN sure has a funny way of encouraging that as it fires the conservatives and treats libs like Hill with kid gloves.
Stating the obvious, Brady writes: “… it seems clear the company leans left. I don’t think anyone ever made an executive decision to go that route as much as the personalities the network has promoted into high-profile positions tend to be more liberal, and as their voices are amplified, the overall voice has shifted with it.”
In other words, the tail is wagging the dog at ESPN. Mea culpa served, ESPN now returns you to its regularly scheduled liberalism.