ESPN, the world-wide leader in leftist bulls**t, is in deep financial trouble. The main cause appears to be the loss of cable subscribers due to a changing media landscape. ESPN’s vast overpayment for products like the NBA has also contributed.
In addition, the network’s injection of left-wing politics into its treatment of sports has been a major turnoff for many of us. As Linda Cohn, who has been with ESPN for 25 years, says, viewer “distaste” with its political slant “definitely” accounts for some of the network’s woes.
ESPN has responded with deep layoffs, but not by backing away from its overt leftism. The layoffs mainly hit those who provided in-depth analysis of games, teams, and players. The race-mongers and other “big picture” sports and society poseurs kept their jobs, in some cases with expanded roles.
In April of this year, ESPN did, however, issue guidelines to its employees regarding the discussion of politics. While not discouraging the discussion of politics in the context of “commentary,” the guidelines state: “Original news reports should not include statements of support, opposition or partisanship related to any social issue, political position, candidate or office holder.”
The guidelines also state:
Writers, reporters, producers and editors directly involved in ‘hard’ news reporting, investigative or enterprise assignments and related coverage should refrain in any public-facing forum from taking positions on political or social issues, candidates or office holders.
ESPN stipulated that this directive applies to “ESPN, Twitter, Facebook and other media.”
This brings us to the case of Jamele Hill. She anchors the incarnation of “Sports Center” that airs at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ms. Hill. If I’m watching television at that hour, I’m watching “Special Report.”
Yesterday, September 11, Hill went on a Twitter rant. She declared that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”
Hill added, “The height of white privilege is being able to ✌🏾ignore✌🏾his white supremacy, because it’s of no threat to you. Well, it’s a threat to me.” Later, in seeming contradiction to this statement, she said: “Donald Trump is a bigot. Glad you could live with voting for him. I couldn’t, because I cared about more than just myself.”
On and on it went, without anything that might pass for genuine argument. Hill provided no evidence or analysis. This tweet was typical: “Trump is the most ignorant, offensive president of my lifetime. His rise is a direct result of white supremacy. Period.”
If I understand ESPN’s new guidelines correctly, Hill has blatantly violated them. She certainly has “taken positions” (even if just through name-calling) in a “public-facing forum” on an “office holder.”
Should she be fired? I never like to see employees punished for what they say on their own dime. I imagine, though, that Hill’s tirade threatens viewership. Thus, it seems to me that ESPN needs to take some form of corrective action.
It also seems to me that if conservative ESPN employee had attacked President Obama, he or she would have been fired instantly. As sports media critic Clay Travis says, “ESPN has fired conservatives for less than [Jamele Hill] Tweeted about Trump tonight.”
UPDATE: ESPN has issued the following statement regarding Hill’s idiotic attack on President Trump:
The comments on Twitter from Jamele Hill regarding the President do not represent the position of ESPN. We have addressed this with Jamele and she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.
ESPN would not say how it addressed the matter or whether it has taken any disciplinary action. The statement is weak. ESPN needs to do better. Hill needs to apologize.