Sports journalism has been hijacked by left-wing hacks
On September 21, NBC News published a hit piece on Barstool Sports and its founder Dave Portnoy. What riled up the journalists to go after the popular sports website known for irreverent humour around sports culture?
Barstool Sports does not abide by PC pleasantries and instead provides a place where sports and political incorrectness co-exist. It’s a place for the average man to enjoy sports and a semblance of traditional masculinity.
Barstool has resisted the general leftward creep of mainstream sporting media, largely emanating from left-wing inspired journalism programs in North American universities. The subtext is clear. Get with the current cultural revolution or be caught in the crosshairs. For his part, Portnoy won’t back down “We will not bow down to the winds of PC culture whichever way they may blow,” Portnoy said in an email to NBC News. “If that makes us perceived as counter-culture then so be it.”
While this may seem a minor row between competing media companies, it represents a much larger issue that’s been brewing between sport journalists and their audience over the past few decades.
For Portnoy, he says “I’d say we represent the silent majority.” It’s hard to disagree. The leftward tilt of ESPN, for example, has resulted in show cancellations and a major loss of ratings and ad revenue. Since 2015, ESPN has lost considerable brand value amounting to billions in losses.
It attempted to launch a Social Justice perspective evening show, ESPN6, which crashed out after delivering less ratings than the previous iteration of the show. Newsflash to sport media companies, sports fans don’t want a political opinion infused into their sports coverage.
But why are so many sports journalists insistent on providing exactly that type of commentary. Historian Terry Gisteros, writing on sports journalists’ portrayal of the emergent rivalry between the Quebec Nordiques and the Montreal Canadiens in the late 1970s offers us a clue.
A little context is in order. In the 1970s, a fierce Quebec nationalist and separatist movement burst onto the scene, culminating in the election of separatist Rene Levesque as Premier in 1976. The Canadiens, represented Anglo domination (owned at the time by the Molson family, of Molson Brewing fame) while the upstart Nordiques represented the aspiring Quebec sovereigntist movement.
Gisteros noted that there was a muzzling of separatist voices in the newspapers owned by those hostile to Quebec nationalism. But the sports pages were not censored. On these pages, sports journalists engaged in political commentary in the pro-secession camp. They were inflicted with the same revolutionary zeal as their journalism school counterparts.
Gisteros noted “First of all, francophone sports journalists were products of the same environment and educational system that produced radical political and investigative journalists. They were likely to possess the same ideological leanings, the same progressive, militant spirit and the same approach to reporting.”
This example is now repeated in journalism schools across the country. Sports reporters are similarly schooled in the practices of left-wing political journalism. Even once staunchly conservative beats like financial reporters now drip with left-wing bias. Even the Columbia University Journalism Review admits as much, Journalism schools are producing a hive mind of journalists with similar biases.
But have the audiences shifted as well? It’s a difficult question to answer, but if you look at ratings of sports shows with overt left-wing political messages, it’s not great. The NFL learned the hard way when it embraced protests against the American flag, their ratings suffered as fans stayed away.
In Canada, we’ve seen similar incidents. This past summer, legendary Sports Radio host Bob McCown was let go from Sportsnet 590 THE FAN, replaced by new host Jeff Blair. While not overtly political, McCown was let go likely due to his high salary and the disappointing revenue numbers at Sportsnet overall, the changes in tone have not been subtle.
McCown, while not overtly political, represented the perspective of an entrepreneur, interested in the business of sports without entangling politics into his analysis. He was crass, highly opinionated, and brought traditional bravado to the mic.
Contrast that to Blair, who is more likely to opine on his left-wing views openly while on air (which is his right). It’s a similar pattern to what’s gone on at ESPN over the past decade. Controversial hosts who don’t tow a progressive line are removed in favour of those who hold more progressive views.
that to Blair, who is more likely to opine on his left-wing views openly while on air (which is his right). It’s a similar pattern to what’s gone on at ESPN over the past decade. Controversial hosts who don’t tow a progressive line are removed in favour of those who hold more progressive views.
But this strategy by media companies and sports journalists belies what draws most to sports in the first place. I’m not saying that sport and politics don’t or shouldn’t collide, I’m currently publishing a book on this very topic. My point is that when the average sports fan turns on sports talk radio, reads a sports column, or tunes into a sports broadcast network, they aren’t really interested in politics. They want to consume sports. Journalists want to use their platform to educate, to speak truth to power, and to advance their political ideals. Just as those Quebec separatists used the sports page to promote their political agenda, the politically influenced journalists emanating from Journalism schools are doing the same. It’s not a formula that can work in the long run.
As a traditionally conservative institution, I think it’s good to challenge traditional assumptions and values inherent in sports. There is room for left-wing perspectives. But just as those progressive activist journalists railed against the conservative power base in the 1960s and 70s, they have now ensconced themselves as the establishment.
Speaking truth to power in the sports world now falls on the shoulders of people like Dave Portnoy, not the overwhelming progressive makeup of sports media in the contemporary environment. It’s for that reason that NBC went after him, but it’s also why his site and other heterodox thinkers in sports media are growing their audience, while the establishment struggles.
Jessica Yaniv was arrested for the assault of a Canadian journalist on over the weekend. According to Keean Bexte, the journalist who was assaulted by Yaniv on camera outside of the B.C. courts on January 14, 2020, Yaniv spent time behind bars on the charge of assault. She may face up to five years for the assault.
That same day, Yaniv falsely accused TPM‘s own Amy Eileen Hamm of sexual assault while at the courtroom. Hamm is suing Yaniv for defamation with the help of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
There was widespread speculation that Yaniv was arrested over the weekend, but The Post Millennial and other outlets were unable to verify the claims at the time. Bexte, being the alleged victim in this particular case, was able to confirm the arrest Wednesday afternoon.
Yaniv was released back into the community after the arrest and will appear in court in February. She will also appear in court in February for two prohibited weapons charges.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ beloved mascot Gritty is being investigated by police after a father claimed that the big orange furry monster punched his 13-year-old son in the back.
Chris Greenwell took his son Brandon to the Wells Fargo Center for a November meet and greet photoshoot with the beloved, google-eyed mascot.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Greenwell claims that “Brandon playfully patted the mascot on the head after the photo was taken. As Brandon walked away, Gritty got out of his chair, ‘took a running start,’ and ‘punched my son as hard as he could,’ Greenwell said Wednesday.”
“We took Mr. Greenwell’s allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim,” said a spokesperson for the Philidelphia Flyers.
A police spokesperson has described the alleged incident as a possible “physical assault” that occurred “during a photoshoot with 13-year-old white male and Flyers mascot Gritty. The investigation is active and on-going.”
The hashtag #FreeGritty is now trending on Twitter.
The Ontario teachers’ strikes are proving to be more acrimonious than anyone expected. Elementary teachers have now opted out of writing report cards and have already begun to engage in rotating strikes.
The Ontario government, on the other hand, have offered up to $60 per day for parents who are feeling the fiscal consequences of the strike, and rumours of back to work legislation is being floated around the corridors of Queen’s Park.
The teachers’ strikes are deeply consequential and have affected the day-to-day lives of 13 million Ontarians who live in the most populace province in Canada. Due to the vast impact this strike, and the mainstream media’s lack of balance in the coverage (often siding with the unions and tecahers), The Post Millennial has compiled a list of things you need to know about the Ontario teachers’ strikes.
1. Ontario’s teachers are among the highest paid in the country
Ontario’s teachers are among the best paid in the country. In the Greater Toronto Area, for instance, top teachers can expect to get paid up to $96,000 a year. The average salary for a teachers in Ontario is $89,300 for elementary teachers and $92,900 for high school teachers. In contrast, the average Ontarian earns $55,000 per year.
2. Ontario teachers are taking more and more sick days
A 2017 study found that teachers have been taking more and more sick days over the past five years. On average, sick days have increased by over 30 percent. In 2020, another report revealed even starker results with teachers taking 70 percent more sick days than over a decade ago.
3. Teachers get a whole lot of time off
Ontario’s teacher’s have a pretty great job. Not only do they get paid a wage that is far higher than the average Ontarian, they also get a lot of time off. Due to breaks in the school year, teachers are allowed three whole months off, on top of the aforementioned sick days.
4. Teachers’ Unions are spending big bucks to win the PR war
So far, the OSSTF has spent $336,389 on Facebook ads alone. These ads usually attack the Ford government and have been running since June. In one week alone, they spent over $40,000. They’re also waging a war of words against Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce through the mainstream press.
5. The Ontario government has already made concessions, but unions won’t meet in the middle
Premier Doug Ford has offered numerous concessions to the teachers’ unions from the government’s initial demands. Ford, for example, offered to meet the teachers half-way on classroom size. This, however, was not good enough for the teachers, and they walked away from the negotiation table. They’re also refusing to do report cards and help out in after school activities, despite claiming the strikes are primarily for the students, not their pay cheques.
6. Ontario’s students are flunking math tests
If you’re going to teach mathematics to a new generation of students, you should probably have to prove that you have some basic ability to do so. This hardly unreasonable request, however, created some tension with the teachers’ unions. Despite EQAO tests showing all-time lows, the unions were upset that teachers had to score at least 70 percent in a math test.
7. Ontario’s debt is astronomically high
After a decade of Liberal government, Ontario’s debt stands at over $350,000,000,000. This figure constitutes one of the highest sub-national debts in the world. Due to this, the Ford government is trying to cut back public sector salaries, which means slowing down the rate at which teachers are paid. Teachers in Ontario also have what many experts consider to be a great pension package.
Shawn Lewis, city councillor for London, brought forth a motion to move the annual London Santa Claus Parade at Tuesday’s Community and Protective Services Committee meeting. The idea for the move is due to its proximity to the Remembrance Day Parade according to CBC.
The motion Lewis introduced was to restrict any parade permits on public streets between Nov. 1-11, the idea being so that the public doesn’t lose focus on the veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made. Lewis serves as chair on the committee.
“As a member of the Royal Canadian Legion myself, I think it is important that Remembrance Day and the lead up to it have a public focus on our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for us,” Lewis wrote in a letter.
The London Santa Claus Parade has taken place on the second Saturday of November in the past, a date that often falls just before Remembrance Day, leaving many veterans feeling unappreciated.
The organizers of the Santa Claus parade agreed to move the date in the future but Lewis wanted to ensure that this didn’t become an issue down the line.
“As time goes on, people retire from organizing events, other people take over, councils change, mayors change, and I think it’s just a good idea to formalize it in our procedures and policies with respect for our veterans,” he told the committee.
Much to Lewis’ delight, the motion passed 4-1.
Ward 3 Coun. Mo Salih voted against the decision however stating, “Me personally, I’m supportive [of the motion], … but I’m struggling on restricting people from choosing to make their own decisions,”
He went on to add, “Many of those people who have served, served to ensure people can make whichever decisions they want to make and do what they want to do on certain days, but I recognize where this is coming from,”
“It seems like a simple solution,” said Ward 1 Coun. Michael Van Holst, who voted in favour of the motion. “[It’s] surprising that someone hasn’t thought of it before.”
Lewis stressed the importance of dealing with this procedurally, saying it’s the only way to address the issue but the decision will still require approval from city council.