ESPN Struggles to Maintain Political Neutrality After Embracing Leftist Social Justice for Years
The iconic sports network ESPN finds itself in a serious bind. After embracing woke identity politics while Obama was President and doubling down with constant ‘Orange Man Bad’ coverage after Trump replaced him, the network is attempting to put the genie back in the bottle and ignore politics altogether.
The only problem is their analysts, many of whom are social justice warriors who have been immersed in the fake news ecosystem for their entire careers, are not going along with the program despite the fact that it is what their fans want.
The network “says its research finds that fans, regardless of political affiliation, do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.” https://t.co/VAxZh6mTrY
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 26, 2019
ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro is trying to undo the damage that was done largely before he came into power 17 months ago, but is running into roadblocks.
“I’ve had this discussion internally with hundreds of our employees that sports is about uniting and ESPN needs to unite people around sports,” Pitaro said to the Washington Post. “That’s our role, or one of our roles.”
“We have to understand we’re here to serve sports fans,” Pitaro added. “All sports fans.”
ESPN host Dan Le Betard, who wrote for the Miami Herald from 1990-2016, is openly defying the orders from his boss as he feels that the sports network should be a vehicle for his leftist political beliefs.
“We here at ESPN don’t have the stomach for the fight. We don’t talk about what is happening unless there is some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through,” said Le Betard, who clearly believes every facet of modern life should be relentlessly politicized.
Pitaro was put in charge after a turbulent 2017 that saw previous president John Skinner resign after an alleged case of extortion, and the network become a political football for the White House after former host Jemele Hill called Trump a white supremacist on her Twitter account. Pitaro was appointed as a fixer of sorts to rid the institution of its obvious political bias.
However, Pitaro is buckling under the pressure. Le Batard will remain on the air despite his outburst and violation of protocol. With next year’s presidential election right around the corner, other leftists on staff know there will be no consequences for their actions.
Hill gloated in The Atlantic over ESPN’s troubles in ending its biased and unpopular political coverage in the age of Trump.
“A no-politics-unless-it’s-sports-related policy seems especially naive and tricky to navigate when the president of the United States not only makes overtly racist comments, but also lays into women’s-soccer players, NBA owners, and other sports figures who disagree with him,” Hill wrote.
“ESPN’s policy also backs the network itself into a corner, and asks TV and radio commentators to do something impossible: ignore anything and everything happening outside the four corners of the playing field, no matter how much it offends their basic sense of humanity,” she added. “Not surprisingly, some commentators just aren’t able to abide by such a mandate.”
By adopting a leftist political slant to their sports reporting, ESPN has created a monster, and that monster may lay waste to the sports empire regardless of Pitaro’s best intentions.