Sunday, April 30, 2017

ESPN and its so-called liberal agenda

I feel like I shouldn't dignify the semi-popular theory that ESPN laid off 100 or so people because the audience is rejecting its left-wing slant, but here goes: Much like the belief in some circles that Colin Kapernick's anthem protests hurt NFL ratings, it's wishful thinking. You can't tell me that the twentysomething college graduates who are moving into their first  places are saying, "Hmm, I would love to pay 100 bucks for cable and get ESPN, but, man, they are just too damn liberal."

If anything, I think people should be focusing on the fact that despite the network is still making oodles of money, it is cutting jobs to make the books look better days ahead of a Disney quarterly meeting. Should we be complaining about a "capitalist right-wing conspiracy" at work? ESPN is about making money, and if it does "favor" certain viewpoints, it's  because it thinks it will make it money. It is worried about not making as much money as it did before. Yet all the prominent left-wing-ish voices that the right wing hates are still there.

I understand the POV that ESPN drifted away from sports, but it drifted towards people yelling at each other, not towards MSNBC-style lefty commentary. The lefty stuff, such as it is, takes place on programming no self-respecting sports fan should be watching, anyway. I know people hate the 6:00 PM Sportscenter now. So don't watch it. But how does that affect prime time?

Look at the Caitlyn Jenner fiasco. Some hate that ESPN gave Jenner an ESPY. Well, the story going around was that the decision was part of a larger quid pro quo aimed at getting Jenner to give an exclusive ABC interview to Diane Sawyer. If that's true--and I believe it is--then perhaps the Jenner ESPY move was not a liberal agenda but part of a crass money-grubbing/ratings-grabbing agenda---again, part of that capitalist conspiracy, right?

But the main thing is, sports fans, why are you watching the ESPYs in the first place? That is not for sports fans. That is for non-sports fans ESPN thinks it can trick into watching its network.

And if ESPN is losing ratings because of  its politics (quite open to debate), why is FS1, which is trying to position itself as an alternative, losing them as well? And if you really want to declare this to promote your own agenda, aren't you kind of defending the one prominent right-wing voice ESPN did get rid of in the last few years--Curt Schilling? And my final question: Regardless of his political views, why do you want to defend Curt Schilling?

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