Mefferd: ESPN and Sports Reporters Push Liberal Ideology

On yesterday’s edition of The Janet Mefferd Show, the host and her guest, Matt Philbin of the Media Research Center, took aim at an unlikely vector of liberal ideals: the world of sports. Reflecting on an MRC report, Mefferd said that ESPN and other sports broadcasters are “using their sports platforms really to push this liberal economic and social ideology.” Philbin asserted ESPN hires people with a “liberal pedigree” and its website includes content that is in “support of the gay agenda.”

Philbin held up liberal commentator Keith Olbermann, who previously worked at ESPN, as proof of the network’s liberal bias. He conveniently ignored the fact that Texas Republican senate candidate Craig James is also a former ESPN broadcaster and ESPN’s chairman and vice president are both Romney donors.

Mefferd: If you are a big sports nut you’re noticing also that from time to time you’ll see a little bit of political material creep in on the sidelines and that’s really the intent of a lot of people on the left, they want to politicize the games, but it’s true of sports in general, and if you follow sports TV at all, ESPN, some of those other sports shows, you’ll see this, and in fact, the Culture and Media Institute of the Media Research Center has put together a report all about this documenting the trend of commentators and sportscasters using their sports platforms to really push this liberal, economic, and social ideology. Matt Philbin is with us, managing editor of the Media Research Center. So Matt, let’s talk about sports in general and what you guys noted looking at channels like ESPN or some of these other sports shows, where do you see this liberal ideology kind of creeping in?

Philbin: Well, you can see it all over the place, and uh, I would just, uh, just a reminder, that, uh, Keith Olbermann came from ESPN. Before he went to MSNBC, he came from SportsCenter which he actually helped create, I believe, uh, so, ESPN has a long liberal ESPN and you can see that in a lot of its programming. And you can see that on its website as well. Its website has always, for years now, has featured commentary in support of the gay agenda.

Philbin later maintained that sports journalists, like other journalists, have “an antipathy toward conservatives and toward traditional Americans.” The two also took umbrage in particular to the sports network’s supposedly cozy relationship with President Obama: Mefferd was dismayed that ESPN is helping the President “show his softer side” by broadcasting his NCAA bracket selection.

Of course, President Bush, a former baseball franchise owner, previously appeared on ESPN to talk fishing and baseball.

Philbin: They’re just pulling from the same sort of pool of people as the mainstream media is, sort of, uh, habitually liberal journalists who really have an antipathy towards conservative and toward traditional Americans.

Mefferd: What about ESPN and its relationship with President Obama, because they’ve sort of fawned over him as well, haven’t they?

Philbin: Oh, They think he’s terrific.

Mefferd: Sports picks and everything.

Philbin: Yes, you know, oh, They’ve had him on to pick his, uh, brackets in the NCAA tournament. They’ve had him speak about reforming college football’s BCS system. Things that really, a President doesn’t have much interest, or shouldn’t have much interest in talking about.

Mefferd: Well, he wants to be a man of the people I guess. Show his softer side, I guess. “They’re calling me a socialist too much, quick, ESPN, let me do my March Madness picks!

Philbin: That’s right, I’m, just like them.

Mefferd: Just like them. 

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