In a hilarious bit of spin, ESPN unveiled self-conducted research to answer allegations they were tacking to the left in their coverage, mixing politics with sports coverage and annoying viewers in the process. The presentation of their findings, however, gives seasoned spin-meisters on The Hill a run for their money.
- The proportion of viewers who see political bias in ESPN programming is unchanged since this survey was last conducted in October 2016 (even as recent months have seen a rise in the number of media outlets speculating on this theory).
- Of those who see a bias, 30 percent actually believe ESPN expresses a conservative viewpoint. Most importantly, even those who identify as conservative (or Republican) actually rate ESPN’s overall performance higher than those groups had in October.
30 percent believe the network has a conservative lean, huh? As Genevieve Wood points out at Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal:
[ESPN] only referenced the 30 percent who said they thought the network expressed a conservative viewpoint.
When asked by the Washington Examiner why they didn’t include the 63 percent figure, a spokesman for ESPN said it was “implied.” When Sporting News asked the same question, the reply was that they were trying to keep the press release “short.”
Wood also points out that the network has egregiously shown its left leaning bias in recent years by, among other things, awarding the Arthur Ashe Courage award to former Olympian Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner for her decision to make the transition from male to female over college basketball player Lauren Hill “who publicly lived out her battle against brain cancer on the court from 2013 to 2015, raising awareness and over $1.5 million for research before succumbing to the disease in April of that year.”
Then there was broadcasting the Women’s March, including Madonna’s comments about blowing up the White House. And ESPN sportscaster Tony Kornheiser comparing the tea party to ISIS. And the network’s firing of former major leaguer/ESPN analyst Curt Schilling for Facebook comments he made objecting to transgendered bathrooms.
But the network is paying — literally — for cherry picking what they consider politically palatable. They’ve reportedly lost 10 million subscribers since their foray into political opining. Someone needs to remind them that Washington, D.C. — ground zero for politician opinion-having and the place where it’s arguably appropriate — is among the most hated places in the United States.