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ESPN “laughably Political”

On Monday, ESPN anchor Jemele Hill launched a series of attacks against President Donald Trump on Twitter, going as far as to call him a white supremacist.

As discussed, it was further evidence of the political bias of the self-described worldwide leader in sports. Hill received a slap on the wrist for this progressive political attack. Conservative personalities on ESPN have received suspensions or been fired for airing political views.

Chris Wallace of Fox News pointed out the hypocrisy at ESPN in an interview with Shepard Smith:  

“It does seem that conservatives like [former ESPN baseball analyst Curt] Schilling get fired for comments they make,” Wallace said.

“But this woman who called the president a white supremacist––so far, at least, they’re giving her a pass.”

Stern Talking

After giving Hill a stern talking to about her attacks on Donald Trump, ESPN President John Skipper sent a memo to staff about airing political views:

ESPN is not a political organization. Where sports and politics intersect, no one is told what view they must express. At the same time, ESPN has values.We are committed to inclusion and an environment of tolerance where everyone in a diverse workforce 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. A tolerant organization would treat the expression of political views equally regardless of the views being expressed.

Skipper referred to the Hill tweets without naming Hill directly. 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. In light of recent events, we need to remind ourselves that we are a journalistic organization and that we should not do anything that undermines that position.

Maybe ESPN needs to begin acting on its personalities expressing strong liberal political views instead of sending memos about such actions. A suspension would have been in order for Hill after her tweets. Progressives at ESPN are free to express political views without repercussion despite repeated public pronouncements from the network to stop.

The Memo

In January of 2016 ESPN sent out a memo insisting the network’s “audiences should be confident that political pressures or personal interests do not influence our news decisions.”

The reaction to the Hill tweets sends exactly the opposite message. Jemele Hill called the President of the United States of America a white supremacist. She didn’t apologize to President Trump for the offensive term and received no formal discipline from the network.

How could a member of the viewing audience see those tweets, and the network’s response, and honestly believe the network makes news decisions without consideration of politics?

ESPN’s Public Editor, Jim Brady, touted the network’s new social media guidelines in April. In his column, he makes it clear that public-facing personalities should refrain from taking positions on office holders. He makes it clear that this policy applies to private social media accounts.

Brady weighed in on Hill’s white supremacist tweets yesterday. In his column Brady said:

“These were not tweets that served her or her employer well. And that’s why — as someone responsible for judging decisions like this through a purely journalistic lens – I think she made a mistake.”

Hill went too far in calling the president a white supremacist. ESPN’s own public editor said that she did. The network has said repeatedly that its public-facing personality should not express political views.

Lack of Discipline

If Hill is allowed to continue her employment without discipline of any kind it only exposes what an utter joke John Skipper has become. The liberal bias at the network has been called out by its own public editor.

The network should either quite claiming to be apolitical or acknowledge what is very clear to anyone who watches their actions. ESPN is an unabashed liberal news outlet and they don’t care if their political views hurt their bottom line.

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