On Changing The Subject


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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146 Responses

  1. Your two examples are extremely different.

    If you were watching a basketball game on ESPN, and the commentators spent the entire time telling you that you should be watching baseball, that would certainly be one thing. But that isn’t what was happening by any stretch of the imagination.

    The particular issue that once again brought this to the foreground – Le Batard’s fury at not only being attacked by Trump, but most of his staff also being attacked by Trump, and what it meant that a political movement views these sorts of attacks as good and right – was specific to the show. His show is, as they describe it, “unapologetically Miami” which means it is far more culturally diverse than what Trump’s fans, and ESPN’s critics, would prefer. Pitaro isn’t being attacked by the president; Pitaro is running cover for Trump. Le Batard isn’t willing to do that, said as much, and the ESPN president’s response was to demand that Le Batard not do the things that made him a successful journalist and radio broadcaster, but to instead remain silent, due to the precious feelings of a demographic that almost certainly isn’t listening to his show anyway.

    Pretending as though sports and politics do not routinely intersect is specifically designed to placate those who prefer and demand the status quo; acknowledging otherwise offends their delicate sensibilities. Pitaro’s position is that those delicate sensibilities need to be coddled. It is an absurdity.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      I get Sam’s poaition, that this feels like a network giving in the the big bully in the Whitehouse…but goddamn, it would be nice if there were a few parts of American life left that weren’t subject to political partisanship.Report

    • If the status quo did not make for good business he would not advocate for status quo. But it is good for business, that is how it got to be status quo in the first placeReport

      • ESPN’s problem isn’t that it has political talkers, but rather, cord-cutting is hitting it hard. What Pitaro thinks he’s doing is fixing the cord-cutting problem – surely these folks must be dropping ESPN because of the political talk? – rather than the cultural issue, which is that sports simply aren’t as big a thing in people’s lives as it used to be. (There is an enormous demographic calamity coming for sports in the next fifty years.)Report

        • Your right about the last part. The cord cutting and politics can, and are, running concurrently.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          A booming company can get away with leaving some cash on the table. A company in crisis has to consider every way of expanding its base, including not alienating potential viewers. I think that in 10 years, there won’t be a company called ESPN whose primary revenue source is monthly bundled cable costs. I’m sure that whatever does exist will have a better chance of success if it drops the politics from its sports coverage.Report

          • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky says:

            There is no such thing as “drops the politics from its sports coverage”; there is not talking about politics, but that is simply lending credibility and support to the status quo, which is an inherently political act. What ESPN is currently doing is trying to keep extremely delicate conservatives assuaged that when they watch sports – or listen to sports talk (in Le Batard’s case) – they won’t have to hear any opinions that in any way conflict with their own worldview that everything is fine.

            As for the coming demographic collapse of even sports media, that is something owed to ongoing cultural change, coupled with pronounced generational conflict about how sports are consumed (and played).Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I am probably one of the least sportsy people here. Sports still seem like a huge business to me even in liberal and allegedly elitist/effete places like San Francisco (Warriors fanaticism is everywhere).

        But I do think there are serious issues when people claim they are not political or want to keep politics out of things. I know who this is going to get eyerolls from but saying “keep politics out of X” is a form of privilege.

        There are just lots of middle-aged and older white guys who are used to being catered to as the dominant force in the market and society and this is going away very quickly. Many of these guys are not necessarily ideological right-wingers but they have a notional conservatism that comes from being used to being the dominant factor in society. Now Millennials are being courted to more often and that generation is much more diverse by all factors than previous generations. There are lots of guys who seemingly don’t like this even if they don’t go full Trump blowhard.

        When I hear people say they aren’t political, it sounds to me like they are saying “I am tired of having to think about what I say out loud because not everyone is a white guy and we are not dominate anymore.”Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I know who this is going to get eyerolls from but saying “keep politics out of X” is a form of privilege.

          “The network also says its research finds that fans, regardless of political affiliation, do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.”

          I’m down with the argument that these fans are privileged. (Heck, if I were targeting advertisers, I’d point out “LOOK AT THE PERCENTAGE OF OUR VIEWERS THAT ARE PRIVILEGED!!!!”)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      Out of curiosity, is there a place in the market for a sports channel that, if I tune into it, I can be coddled?

      Or is it incumbent upon me to never be coddled? To understand that, even in my down time, I should be Worshipping God With All My Heart And All My Soul And All My Mind?Report

      • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

        And stray from the one true path of eternal privilege checking, stepping aside for marginalized voices, and generally feeling bad about yourself?

        Sometimes I think you don’t want to go to heaven.Report

      • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yes: the Golf Channel.

        There, you will find coverage of a (dying) sport beloved by the president, where the only political statements made by the anchors are in praise of Trump’s golf properties, coupled with an ongoing celebration of how things were, with the occasional soupcon of objection whenever young people do things wrong.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          I admit to finding it odd that we criticize the whole “being coddled” thing when it comes to leisure activities.

          It feels like the argument is: “Oh, you want to do something fun? What? Are you perpetually 12? You should do things that *I* enjoy!”Report

          • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

            Was this comment meant to be in reply to me? Because I’m not saying anybody should do things that they don’t enjoy.

            This though gets back to the issue discussed elsewhere in this thread: where this commentary was happening. You seem to be implying that these political comments were being made during sporting events; that is extremely rare, as compared to the things that commentators say on sports argument shows.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

              You’re the one who used the phrase “Pitaro’s position is that those delicate sensibilities need to be coddled”, are you not?

              If you weren’t, it was directed to whomever did say that.

              You seem to be implying that these political comments were being made during sporting events; that is extremely rare, as compared to the things that commentators say on sports argument shows.

              Oh, please understand! I don’t watch ESPN! I have no idea when the comments were being made.

              I just know what I know from the news article that I linked to that talked about how ESPN was going to try to not inject politics into their shows anymore because their research showed that even the fans who agreed with the politics weren’t tuning into ESPN in order to get politics.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

                That certainly is Pitaro’s position, yes: that conservative viewers need to be coddled lest they hear anything that does not reflect the world back to them exactly as they would prefer it to be. His position is plainly that the only politics allowed on the network are ones protecting the current conservative status quo.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                So my question assumes that coddling is, in fact, what is going on.

                What is wrong with people using their precious entertainment minutes being coddled?

                I mean, I assume that your implication is that being coddled is somehow bad.

                Maybe it’s good! Maybe it’s neutral. If I misunderstand how you’re using the word “coddled”, maybe that’s the only thing that I need cleared up.

                I mean, maybe we’re just using different terms for the same thing.

                If the CEO’s position is something like “we want to entertain our audience!”, then that’s a pretty solid position for the CEO of an entertainment channel to make and only a nutjob would say that they shouldn’t cater to what sells and, instead, talk about whatever moral position is fashionable this week.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:


                There’s nothing wrong with that, per se. It’s what we all do. What’s weird in this case though is people pursuing shows where OPINIONS ARE HAD, LOUDLY and then objecting when those opinions do not reflect their own.

                Because, again, this is not people tuning into a baseball game and encountering announcers going both barrels about Trump; these are folks tuning into OPINIONS ARE HAD, LOUDLY and objecting about what they are hearing. (Or, in one very particular case, objecting to what opinions hosts are having when they aren’t hosting.)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                What’s weird in this case though is people pursuing shows where OPINIONS ARE HAD, LOUDLY and then objecting when those opinions do not reflect their own.

                There’s two kinds of heat in Pro Wrestling.

                There’s the Ric Flair kind of heat, where people spend money to show up and boo. They scream how much they hate Ric Flair. Then they hear that somebody is going to be fighting him at the next show and they plonk down $20 because, dammit, they want to see Ric Flair lose. Ringside is $35? Yeah, give me ringside.

                Then there’s the type of heat where you just hate the wrestler to the point where you just sneer when you hear their name. Friggin’ X-Pac Heat.

                If you can’t tell the difference between boos, you’re likely to lose money.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

                X-Pac made tons of money. He was one of the main members of Degeneration X, during its ascendancy and WCW’s post-NWO collapse. Also, sure, there were people who hated Ric Flair, but he was loved in equal measure. (I just inexplicably saw him in a series of Cumberland Farms gas station advertisements for a frozen coffee drink. This was in New England, where I’m not sure Flair was ever an enormous draw. I have digressed.)

                I guess the idea here is something like Shockmaster, or, more recently, Roman Reigns pre-cancer announcement. Both were HUGELY unpopular with the audience, not because they cared about them, but because they didn’t.

                Point is, the implication here is that folks like Le Batard are failed gimmicks? Because that isn’t the case at all. Le Batard is hugely successful, has an enormous audience, and ESPN still tries to clamp down on him, despite his successes. The fans that love him are given less of what they want, and the folks that weren’t listening to him get to pocket a win but don’t listen to him anyway. It’s a truly bizarre strategy.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                Oh, X-Pac made out like a bandit! (Before that silly little “domestic violence” thing.)

                I’m not saying that he doesn’t have his fans.

                But TV Tropes named a Trope after him.

                I’m not saying that Le Batard is a failed gimmick.

                I’m saying that the accountants ran the numbers and they had studies and they found out that, here, let me copy and paste it again:

                “The network also says its research finds that fans, regardless of political affiliation, do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.”

                And they changed tack and hired a guy who was also mentioned in the story.

                Does anybody know what has happened to ESPN’s ratings over the last year?Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

                Have you read about the specifics of that study, the questions it asked, etc? And are you contending that the entirety of ESPN’s modest ratings bump is solely related to its ongoing attempt to make sure that certain political opinions are only rarely on the network? Is there anything to back that claim up?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:


                The only thing I’ve read is the story that I linked to and what it said.

                As such, I suppose I do very much have to take into account the possibility that it is Fake News.

                Do you have any information that contradicts the information in the story?

                I’d love to read it!Report

              • George Turner in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                A network starts out with a potential audience of everybody. But they can dramatically shrink that audience by inserting politics in ways that piss off huge subsets of viewers, since people can just flip the channel and not come back. They could piss off all the men or all the women and cut their audience even further by playing various race and religion cards. They can keep on shrinking their audience to their heart’s content, watching their revenue plummet and cutting staff to that of a small local radio station.

                Then ESPN, EPSN 2, CBS Sports, NBCSN, and a host of others are each left with 5% market share, while Fox merges with the SEC network to gets a 50% market share, rising to about 90% because none of the other networks can afford to cover much of anything except college lacrosse.

                And then the few remaining ESPN executives who didn’t get fired sit around wondering why Fox has the sports entertainment market all locked up. The Fox executives wonder the same thing because they didn’t do anything at all different, they just aired the games like they always have.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                This is why Hollywood movies are so liberal, because they want to appeal to the widest possible audience.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                We scratch our heads over how badly their overt liberalism results in box office disaster. Even their successes are losses, such as the woke Star Wars, which is a dumpster fire compared to the franchise’s potential.

                I doubt most progressive liberals like the preaching, either, or they’d have flocked to see the Ghost Busters reboot.

                Compare those to conservative films like Team America: World Police or the Sharknado franchise.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                I was going to make some snarky, insulting comment about what would constitute a conservative movie, but you beat me to it.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’m sure someone at OT did a big write up on how Sharknado transformed our culture. I remember the long countdown to the premier of each installment and how excitement and interest grew via a grassroots interest that went viral.

                A lot of liberals probably don’t realize how much that franchise changed perceptions of climate change on the right.

                “Are there man-eating sharks falling out of the sky? No? Then we’re good!”

                A century from now historians will identify it as America’s key turning point, kind of like the way “Roots” kicked off the Civil Rights movement.Report

              • George,

                I genuinely admire how utterly ridiculous your last several comments have been.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                Thanks! But I couldn’t do it without Chip because this kind of comedy definitely takes a team effort. 🙂Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                CALVIN: Art is dead! All is commercialized appropriation! Therefore I am signing my name to this snow covered hill and you can buy it for a million dollars!

                HOBBES: Hmm, naw, it doesn’t go with my couch.

                CALVIN: That’s the trouble with being avant garde; Its hard to know who’s kidding whom.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      “Pretending as though sports and politics do not routinely intersect”

      baby, if you didn’t want to get felt up, then what are you doing in a club? don’t you know what a club is FOR?Report

  2. Aaron David says:

    I like to watch a football game or listen to a baseball game. I hate reading about sports. I have zero desire to read about how someones torn meniscus came from whatever and will affect him however. And I especially don’t want to read about some A-hole making political statements, whether or not I agree with them.

    As a wise athlete once said, “Republicans buy shoes too.” And while I hate that I know that (see above), he was right. And as has been said in this thread, cord-cutting is not helping sports. So why would a company purposefully alienate half of their potential customers? That is just stupid.

    Here is a good graphic illustrating the politics of sports fans:
    Now, looking at that, why would you mix political, let alone ESPN’s flavor of woke, in with sports? I mean, unless you just want to shoot the horse, put it out of its misery…

    By the way, people I know who do like to read about and follow sports say this site is good https://theathletic.com/ Subscription, which seems to help.


    • Fun Fact: it is unclear whether Michael Jordan ever actually said “Republicans buy shoes/sneakers too.”

      As for the idea of “ESPN’s flavor of woke” what exactly does that mean?Report

      • Aaron David in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

        Did not know that about Jordan. See, I don’t read about sports at all. Rather be watching it.

        As for wokeness, mostly of the type personified by Jemele Hill. Here is a good breakdown of that:
        That seems typical of where ESPN was heading at the time. As always, I am open to new info.Report

        • Well, Jemele Hill was absolutely right about Trump: he is a white supremacist. The pushback about that chased her from the network, which was a capitulation to the audience that Pitaro is hoping to maintain, but it isn’t like Hill is the only person who has made the criticism, even with the generally anodyne world of professional sports. Even that link points to Hill noting that as athletes have been louder about their own politics, ESPN has followed suit, and for the network to try to steer clear of such messaging is a difficult thing that, depending upon the severity of the situation, borders on the ridiculous.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

            White supremacist seems to have become the word du jour, its meaning being anyone who disagrees with the speaker. But that said, as Jaybird quotes below, ESPN’s numbers are up over last year rather significantly. So, as a business decision, it seems to have been a good one.

            I don’t think what they were doing was necessarily wrong; sports and politics as you mention. Only, they are a business, owned by Disney I believe, and thus they might, just might, be slaves to the bottom line. If they were getting a positive response to it, this wouldn’t even be an issue. But there you have it.

            They might be in an untenable situation, what with athletes and news and such. But I have a feeling that if they hired a different set of sportscasters, Rush for instance, or maybe Clay Davis, the coverage of these topics would be vastly different.Report

            • Aaron,

              White supremacist is very clear in its meaning and that meaning very clearly applies to Trump, as well as a significant percentage of his supporters.

              As for Rush Limbaugh or Clay Travis (Clay Davis is the legislator from The Wire), yes, of course their coverage would be vastly different. It would be nonstop praise of Trump, coupled with endless criticism of every athlete who does not sufficiently bend the knee to him.

              ESPN is trying to hew out some sort of middle ground, wherein conservatives don’t have to hear what they don’t want to hear, and the conversation is neutered as a result, with the assumption being that all other sports fans will hang around too. And maybe they will. But the idea that sports and politics can be so thoroughly disconnected simply doesn’t end up working, because it can’t, because they are so fundamentally attached at the hip.Report

            • Mike Schilling in reply to Aaron David says:

              Some time ago, Rush was hired to be an an NFL postgame show. He decided to throw a bomb about Donovan McNabb being overrated because he was (you know), and that was the end for him.Report

  3. Chip Daniels says:

    So no one is supposed to talk about politics in between the national anthem and the Air Force fly by and the Marine color guard ceremony?

    Like I was saying , how would we know if we were living in a authoritarian state? In even the East Bloc countries people went to sports games, argued for their favorite teams, went to the symphony and strolled in the park.

    Maybe one way to know if you are living in a repressive state is when people nervously tell you to avoid talking about certain subjects.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Don’t forget standing and looking solemn for God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch. We apparently are supposed to treat it as a surrogate national anthem. My theory is that the people who want this are a bit squishy on the actual national anthem because (a) it is challenging to sing, and (b) it asks a question that is open to an embarrassing interpretation. God Bless America is pure banal jingoism, which some consider a big plus.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      This isn’t about what *YOU* do with *YOUR* Sundays.

      You can talk about whatever you want.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      A football game takes about 3 hours, so I’d guess you can figure out if we’re living in an authoritarian state during the other 165 hours per week. It’s a bit tougher for college football fans, sure, but there’s a good 8 months where they can keep an eye on it. Maybe they could make friends with baseball fans so that the authoritarian state doesn’t sneak up on anyone.

      I’m more worried about the dentist’s office. If you don’t shout political slogans at the dentist and check his reaction, you could find yourself with a fascist dentist. Next thing, we’re all Dustin Hoffman.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

        If we tell professor Amy Wax to just limit her comments to strictly textbook legal issues and avoid any political comments about race, are we oppressing her freedom, or no?

        Is James Damore living in a free country where he can boldly speak his mind?Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Then Chip turns around and says: “Look, you might have freedom from speech, but you don’t have freedom from consequences, and if people–private entities, private businesses, not the government–if they don’t like what you say then it’s entirely acceptable for them to choose to no longer associate with you, and to not permit you to hijack their resources to push your message.”Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck says:

            I brought up the Brezhnev era on the other thread, in that one of the significant changes he brought about was that the tools of state control changed to become very subtle and invisible.

            In his time, if you voiced an unpopular opinion, you weren’t taken out and shot. You would simply discover that you were no longer going to be promoted at work, or your daughter mysteriously didn’t make the dance squad, or your son’s scholarship was denied.

            Its one of the staple arguments among the IDW crowd that white male conservatives are suffering oppression of this sort, where voicing a politically incorrect opinion results in subtle forms of punishment- deplatforming, loss of tenure, even being fired outright.

            A liberal like me could argue with statistics that overall, there is no oppression of conservatives in America today.

            But no one lives in “overall”; We live in our homes, our workplaces, the bars and clubs and malls where we hang out.

            If those places see us as lesser beings because of our identity or opinions, then it is in fact repression.

            I guess my point is that in every society since forever, there have been groups of people who experience this, who live in a world where they are not free or secure.

            “We” don’t all live in the same world. So when a tv show or or Gillette commercial or sporting event presents what they purport to be the “normal” status quo, we need to understand that form some people, the status quo is very oppressive.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Everybody will have their own sense of “reasonable” when it comes to interjecting politics into something or avoiding politics when introduced. I don’t remember Amy Wax. James Damore was responding to the question of female recruitment, so I wouldn’t say that he ratcheted things up (at least on purpose). There are a lot of judgment calls. In my estimation, your “reasonable” is way off-base if you see military patriotic displays at sporting events as a provocation.Report

  4. Richard Hershberger says:

    “We regret to see that there is an effort being made to introduce a political firebrand into the convention, in the form of a motion for the admission of colored club representatives into the Association. We hope nothing of the kind will be attempted. Thus far we have steered clear of this stumbling-block, and we sincerely hope it will be avoided for years to come.

    “If the colored clubs are as numerous as represented, it would be advisable for them to get up an association of their own. We wish to exclude every question from discussion in the Convention that in any way has a political complexion, and for this reason we shall oppose any such recognition as the one above alluded to. Let the subject be one excluded from the Convention entirely in any shape or form, and if the two Committees–Nominating and Committee of Rules–avoid it, it cannot legally come up in the Convention for discussion.” (New York Sunday Mercury November 10, 1867)

    Anyone who thinks that sports and politics are disjoint realms of human activity doesn’t understand the issue. Who gets to play? If, how, and how much are the players compensated? Where are they going to play? Who gets to control the sport? These are all political questions. Anyone who pretends otherwise has a hidden agenda.

    We are approaching the next round of collective bargaining in baseball. Prepare for a bunch of political commentary on the subject, much of it masquerading as something else. In fact, any discussion that pretends it isn’t political should be dismissed out of hand. It is either clueless or disingenuous.Report

    • In fact, any discussion that pretends it isn’t political should be dismissed out of hand.

      Q: How many high school sophomores argued that D&D wasn’t religious with a copy of Deities and Demigods in their hands?

      A: All Of Them.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Jaybird says:

        An argument by analogy is only as good as the analogies it uses. Here you are analogizing sports to D&D, and politics to religion. I gave a list of questions about sports that are political. Responding that D&D has nothing to do with religion doesn’t show that sports has nothing to do with politics. It simply shows the weakness of the analogy.Report

        • I’m not sure that it does. I was raised in an environment where everything was either Christian or Non-Christian.

          And any decision to wander into Non-Christian territory was sinful.

          ESPN is talking about having shows where they don’t go out of their way to talk about Politics. If you read the article (and why do that?) they aren’t saying that they’ll *NEVER* talk about Politics… if so-and-so gives a very political speech, they’re going to cover that.

          They’re talking about not going out of their way to talk about Politics.

          (And it’s not just D&D that I’m analogizing sports to… I could *EASILY* talk about politics being injected into video games, or movies, or comic books, or any number of voluntary entertainments. I *AM* analogizing politics to religion, though. Hell, yes.)Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to Jaybird says:

            Yabbut… What is and is not political? Saying they will talk about politics, but only when the story is political, says nothing if we don’t know what they consider political. Hence my point about collective bargaining. This is a classic case of a story that is political to its core, but which people like to pretend is not.Report

            • I suppose I’m also making an analogy between the religious leadership of my youth and the volunteer moral leadership I have today.

              To answer your question, the answer to what is and what is not political has the answer “BUT EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL” on one side and it’s not particularly useful.

              I suppose another answer that exists is we might have a vocabulary problem and people are using “political” the way that you or I would use the word “partisan”. Is it possible to talk about the subject in such a way that would get “both sides” to nod and feel informed?

              Then I’d say that talking about the subject in that way is not “political” even if the subject is political to its core.Report

  5. Damon says:

    I guess I’m part of a dying breed that likes my news and entertainment SEPARATE. I don’t want to watch a game and have to listen to a bunch of politics that tangentially impact / effect the game/industry/sport but has little to do with the actual outcome of the damn game.Report

  6. DensityDuck says:

    if someone declines to participate in your kink and you keep pushing it anyway that doesn’t mean they’re the immoral ones.Report

  7. CJColucci says:

    I go back to what I said last time this subject came up: it’s only “politics” if you disagree with it. If it’s politics you agree with, then it isn’t politics, it’s just normal, dammit. Normal human beings expressing normal communal solidarity. That said, I never had the impression that there was that much political talk on ESPN or sports talk radio, didn’t much care about what there was, and tuned it out, whatever its flavor, because I don’t take my politics from sports talking heads or Vinnie from Syosset. I have no objection to a sports programming executive deciding to spike politics from sports shows for business reasons, even if the business decision was driven by only certain types of politics, as it surely was. I’ll continue to ignore the continuing, traditional sports politics that no one would dare complain about and watch the game.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to CJColucci says:

      It reminds me a bit of the Gillette thread where their completely totally nonpolitical commercial merely showed a bunch of happy transpersons and women using their products, and for some strange reason a lot of people tried to insert politics into it.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

      I go back to what I said last time this subject came up: it’s only “politics” if you disagree with it. If it’s politics you agree with, then it isn’t politics, it’s just normal, dammit.

      This gets into my question below: Was there a pro-Trump show on the channel?

      Or were the only times the subject came up, non-political for only one political affiliation?

      Because if ESPN was putting out a product where the topic was “expressing normal communal solidarity” to only half of their audience and it was political for the other half and this particular set of normal/political opinions were the only normal/political opinions you could get on the channel, then they were pulling a dumb move.

      I mean, I could see there being a Crossfire kinda political show on ESPN that might do well. You’ve got Team Good on one side and Team Evil on the other and now we’re going to discuss The NFL Draft and Donald Trump. Or the Baseball Strike and Donald Trump. Or the Hockey Playoffs and Donald Trump.

      That might be kinda fun.

      But if the only opinions on tap were Team Good (Pardon me, “Team Normal”) then they were doing things that I can only imagine would be walked back by whomever replaced the guy who decided to only allow normal opinions on the show.

      (And, again, from the article: “The network also says its research finds that fans, regardless of political affiliation, do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.” For some reason, even the people with normal political opinions didn’t want to hear about them on ESPN.)Report

      • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

        Maybe you should have been watching ESPN, which you said below you don’t. Then you’d know.
        But to be neighborly about it, there were plenty of talking heads who were anti Trump and you could often tell by looking at them even if they didn’t say a word. Big-time sports being a largely conservative enterprise, however, there were plenty of pro-Trump people — well-known Republican athletes, and owners, by and large. Trump himself, however, was rarely a sports politics issue unless he made himself one, which he did often. And since he did it himself, he can’t complain if people talked back. If they did. His positions got quite a bit of support in sports talk circles by people who would be appalled at the thought that they were taking a political position.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

          I read your comment, felt rebuked, and then realized that I still didn’t have an answer to my question.

          I mean, I knew about Olbermann and his show which, even in my rarified “I only watch pro wrestling” circle knew was an anti-Trump show.

          But were there any pro-Trump shows?

          You mention that there were pro-Trump people who showed up from time to time. Athletes and owners, you say… but I still don’t know if there was a show that I could point to and say “sure, they have Olbermann… but they also have THIS GUY!” and then point to his show.

          Did they have a show like that?

          I don’t know.

          I don’t watch it.Report

          • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

            There were and are no “shows” that were pro- or-anti-Trump. Trump wasn’t that big a part of this until he stuck his nose into sports politics issues himself. Several hosts and regulars could be identified as pro- or anti-Trump on general principles, or from past non-sport shows they did, and sometimes by specific comments, Trump-related or not. Or just because they seemed to be decent human beings and, therefore, the most logical inference was that they were, therefore, anti-Trump, whatever they said on their shows. But politics, pro-Trump or anti-Trump, just wasn’t that big a deal. Now if a network executive wants to get rid of even the minor amount of politics that existed on ESPN, I have no quarrel with that. Not even if it’s clear what specific politics he wanted to spike, as long as the actual policy, whatever its motivations, was even-handed.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

            I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but all sports shows are objectively pro-Trump because the celebrate winners over losers. An anti-Trump sports show would skip the competition and just hand out participation trophies, and reward athletes for not participating in corporate-sponsored false conflicts set up to generate profits.

            *Waves at Kaepernick*Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to CJColucci says:

          Trump is unique among Presidents in that he is a reality star, not a statesman.

          All other Presidents from Reagan to Obama understood the role of statesman, and knew when and how to perform the ceremonial role without obvious political leanings.

          Trump isn’t capable of that. He makes himself and his ego and self aggrandizement the center of any utterance that comes out of his mouth, so even things like congratulating the winning team becomes a Trump political statement.

          So its only natural the politics has now infused everything from tennis to football to the Oscars.Report

      • Saul Degraq in reply to Jaybird says:

        So there needs to be a “pro-Trump” show for balance? I don’t know why this is a hill you want to die on. Are you being like Quillette and turning anti-antifa into full blown Trumpism?

        Trump is a racist and a white nationalist. He and his staff clearly think that their best reelection strategy is a repeat of 2016 via race-baiting. Every now and then he tries to walk it back but it is not sincere and he goes on the race baiting pack.

        Let’s look at the last few weeks:

        1. He goes against AOC, Omar and in the squad in a race-baiting way;

        2. He attacks Elijah Cummings and West Baltimore numerous times in racist ways;

        3. He has called countries with majority non-white countries “shitholes”. He calls parts of the United States withy majority non-white populations “shitholes.”

        Beto was right this weekend. Trump is a racist and enables racist violence. And you think there should be a pro-Trump show or no politics at all?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraq says:

          While I always appreciate you talking about me personally, for the sake of argument, let’s just assume that I am a Card-Carrying Member of Team Evil. So, henceforth, if you want to dismiss my opinions because I am a bad person, please point to this comment.

          So there needs to be a “pro-Trump” show for balance?

          Well, if you read the argument that I was responding to, it was this:

          it’s only “politics” if you disagree with it. If it’s politics you agree with, then it isn’t politics, it’s just normal, dammit.

          It doesn’t need, necessarily, to be a “Pro-Trump” show. It could merely be a show where the half that watch Olbermann and say “This is political!” while the other half say “This is just normal!” are able to watch and say “This is just normal!” (while the people who see Olbermann as normal say “but but but this is political!”

          That’s what I’d say as giving “balance”.

          And you think there should be a pro-Trump show or no politics at all?

          On CNN? Absolutely not! On MSNBC? Absolutely not! On FoxNews? Absolutely not!

          On ESPN? Yeah, I think that they could get away with talking about sports.Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

            I think the idea is that the default for anything in America is vicious overt pro-Trump bigoted transphobic misogyny, and that if you aren’t explicitly Not That then you must support it, and “just a little bit” supportive is the same as “all the way”, and “I don’t care” is the same as “just a little bit”.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to CJColucci says:

      I had two history teachers in high school who prided themselves on never tipping their hand as to their political leanings. They liked the mystery and felt it could only bias the way their students interpreted their lessons. I guess I feel the same way about sports commentators. Just call the game.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        “Now class, for our totally apolitical history lesson, please open your People’s History Of America to Chapter 5, The Native Genocide…”Report

        • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          When I was in school we didn’t mistake communist propaganda for history textbooks, but it did make the chapter on Reconstruction painfully boring.Report

        • CJColucci in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I didn’t know the political leanings of most of my teachers in most subjects, unless I had some extracurricular knowledge. This is nothing special.
          As far as just calling the game is concerned, I remember John Roberts saying all he does is call balls and strikes. It made me think of Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem. One night, he was out drinking with some fellow umpires. The first boasted: “I call ’em as I see ’em.” The second replied: “I calls them as they are.” Klem nursed his drink a bit, then said: “They ain’t nothing ’til I call them.”Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to CJColucci says:

            Yeah, that’s kinda what I was driving at, that there really isn’t any such thing as “apolitical history”.

            Oddly enough, conservatives are very adept at pointing this out, what with their Lost Cause version of history.Report

  8. Doctor Jay says:

    It sounds like there were specific shows that the network though were too much, and asked them to dial back. And this pretty much undercuts most of the argument for “I just want to watch a sporting event and not be bothered by a lot of political talk”. That was happening, the overt political stuff was on commentary shows, not on broadcasts of sporting events. I think it wasn’t hard to predict what shows you might find it on.

    So the ban is far more about avoiding boycotts and bad press than it was about providing non-political sports coverage.

    Which reminds me about D&D. I’m a bit older, so I was in grad school when it came out and I played it. The business about it being satanic had a real impact, since it convinced the local hobby store with the biggest stock of minis and other gear to wipe out all of that inventory.

    But I had several years before rejected the notion that if something wasn’t explicitly Christian, it was satanic. This seemed, frankly, at odds with what I’d read in the bible. I understood it to be more like a crescent wrench – something that could be used for a purpose, and what purpose that ended up being was up to you. We make moral imprints on things. In D&D we could play paladins that slay demons, and that was the normal state of affairs, not demon worship.


  9. George Turner says:

    Sports certainly has a big religious component because God has his thumb on the scales, which is why both teams pray for his favor before the game. But if politics was involved, the governor would just have the state police or local law enforcement conveniently arrest certain key members of the visiting team and charge them with drug offenses. If that’s not happening (and it used to back when politics was really in sports and black players were on their own), the game is probably not inherently political.

    But politics has also been bleeding into other forms of previously a-political programming, such as Sesame Street, which introduced a homeless muppet, a girl who had no place to live. They touted their wokeness, saying it is the first homeless character in children’s programming, and then got slammed for not realizing that Oscar the Grouch has been living in a trash can for the last fifty years. 🙂Report

  10. Jaybird says:

    I never watched ESPN. I have seen the clip where Stephen Smith is turned into a baby and yells about Lamar Odom being on crack which is really funny but I’ve never sat down to watch ESPN.

    But I do have a question about it for those among you who do watch it: Was there a pro-Trump show on the channel?Report

  11. Fish says:

    Because I’m a giant nerd (+1d4 to damage) I’m going to talk about the D&D bits and not the actual content of your post: D&D avoids religion in the same way that the Dresden books avoid religion: All the gods are real. All of them.Report

  12. It has been pointed out above, but nobody was tuning into basketball/baseball/football games and hearing anti-Trump commentary. They were tuning into sports-talk shows, then falling to pieces because the commentators weren’t repeating back at them their own beliefs. And that’s before we get into sports shows that we’re being asked to ignore things athletes were saying and doing – protesting police brutality or refusing to visit the White House – because covering those things once again melts those doing the complaining about it.

    But perhaps as a different approach, what should ESPN do when something like this happens? Cover it? Ignore it? (Hell, should the player be suspended for injecting politics into a precious, sacrosanct sporting event?)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      It has been pointed out above, but nobody was tuning into basketball/baseball/football games and hearing anti-Trump commentary. They were tuning into sports-talk shows, then falling to pieces because the commentators weren’t repeating back at them their own beliefs.

      Man, instead of falling to pieces, they should have just switched the channel.

      Life’s too short, you know?Report

    • Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      You think conservatives are too delicate when they complain about hearing politics they don’t like. But by complaining about ESPN backing off from politics, you’re complaining that you might not hear politics you do like.

      Do you see that? You say that everything is politics, and if people aren’t challenging the status quo, they’re responsible for the status quo. The only situation that you’d accept is if everyone walks around saying things that you believe.Report

      • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky says:


        I’m certainly critical of a dumb policy that mutes voices, particularly somebody like Le Batard’s. He is much more complicated a character than he is being given credit for here. That Pitaro would look at him and say, “We need a lot less of this, let’s just stick to sports” is an absurdity.

        This though is part of the broader phenomenon where conservative voices are given incredible opportunity to be expressed; conservatism drips out of ESPN, for example, with nobody anywhere objecting, particularly the “stick to sports!” crowd that loves politics in its sports, just so long as they’re the right politics. Then an occasional bit of something else creeps in, and suddenly politics has to be quashed, but only ever in the one direction.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          I don’t watch ESPN. Please cite two examples of conservatism dripping out of it.Report

          • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky says:


            That you don’t watch, but are still invested in this, is an oddity.

            But anyway, sports are conservative by their nature, their structure, and their execution. If you need specific issues to explore, you can find plenty of ESPN talking heads opposed to paying college athletes, opposed to athletes speaking out on political issues, opposed to questioning authority figures, etc. You can also find plenty of times that ESPN bent over backward to protect institutions (most notably, the NFL) from various coverage that would not reflect kindly upon it.

            But again, those are the politics that are tolerated, and continue to be tolerated, because they reflect the status quo.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

              That you don’t watch, but are still invested in this, is an oddity.

              THIS IS IT IN A NUTSHELL.

              It’s like the people who didn’t play D&D who would rather I play Dragonraid.

              It’s like the people who didn’t listen to rock and roll who wanted me to listen to these groups and not those groups.

              It’s like the people who get upset that I’m choosing to not go see a movie.

              It’s like the people who get upset that I didn’t buy a comic book.

              It’s like the people who get upset that I didn’t buy a video game.

              For some reason, it’s somehow *IMPORTANT* that ESPN talk about politics (indeed! their choice to *NOT* talk about politics is a political one!).

              But do we even have anybody on the site who watches ESPN?

              For my part, I’ll go back to what I said in the post:

              As such, I agree with the call that ESPN has made. While it’s true that there are people who tune into ESPN to hear what’s going on with Trump, Trump, Trump, there appear to be more people who tune into ESPN to hear about the MLB trade deadline, or the upcoming Fantasy Football drafts, or what the various Free Agents are doing in the NBA… and there are places for people who want to talk about Trump, Trump, Trump to go and talk about Trump, Trump, Trump.

              And the best argument to this is to point out that the ratings for ESPN didn’t go up after they changed how they do things, but that they stayed stagnant or that they even went down.

              Does anybody even know how ESPN’s ratings are doing? Maybe we could do a side by side for how they are doing compared to how they used to be doing.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                Unless I have completely misread Sam, his point is just the opposite. Nobody cares if YOU watch ESPN, either the “non-political” version or the “political” version. The “oddity” is that people who DON’T watch ESPN — and not for political reasons — are invested in its programming decisions.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                Oddly enough, the Board of ESPN is also invested.

                Their conclusion? Here, let me cut and paste it again:

                “The network also says its research finds that fans, regardless of political affiliation, do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.”

                So far, I’ve seen this being described as “coddling” viewers.

                Which is weird.

                (Does anybody know what has happened to the ratings since they made this decision? Maybe we can hammer out whether they’re doing something right or not!)Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                The Board of ESPN damn well ought to be invested. Nobody says different. (As for the merits of the decision, as I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t care enough to have an opinion.) What’s odd is two people who DON’T watch ESPN — you and Pinky — being invested. Was that unclear the first few times, or are you just dodging again?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                While I am not invested in ESPN or sports, I *AM* invested in the idea that there be little tiny corners where you can go and be entertained without feeling like you’re going to have to talk about Politics or Religion.

                Not that talking about Politics or Religion is *BAD*, mind. Just that there be corners where you can go and expect to *NOT* talk about these things.

                You know, a place where you can just talk about sports, or video games, or rock and roll, or comic books, or movies, or television shows, or tabletop games, without the expectation that we’re going to have to Glorify God in some way while we’re goofing off, lest Jesus come back and we’re goofing off without somehow Glorifying Him.

                And ESPN came out and said “hey, we’re going to step back a little bit from the whole political thing”.

                And I think that that is, unequivocally, a good thing.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                Or, maybe, less “not talk about politics” and more “not hear a sermon”.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                If I remember correctly, a few years ago ESPN intentionally politicized the network by hiring Jamelle Hill to anchor the 6 oclock SportsCenter in an effort to boost ratings. Now they’re depoliticizing in an effort to boost ratings. My controversial hot take is that ESPN doesn’t know what to do to boost ratings.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                So I googled “jemele hill ratings” and here are two stories from the first page of google results…

                Link The First: SC6 at 3 Months: Michael Smith and Jemele Hill Haven’t Saved ESPN SportsCenter Ratings Yet

                Link The Second: ESPN Brags Ratings Are Up 19% Since They Fired Jemele and Mike on SportsCenter.

                Since deciding to just not go out of their way to talk about politics, does anybody know what has happened to the Ratings?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I can’t answer that with any precision, but there was a pretty comprehensive overhaul of ESPN programming and on-air talent at the same time Jamelle was let go. Lots of people were let go or re-assigned.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                Live by the sword, die by the sword…

                My controversial hot take? What is good in year N is not good in year N+5Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

                Maybe. Jamelle was hired In the same wave that brought Jessica Mendoza to Sunday night baseball (with Curt Schilling, if I recall correctly. !!! ) She’s still there but they’re all gone.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                I would assume (I know, I know) that they can do analytics about various on-air talents that drill down to that level. Or, they just got a tidal wave of complaints specifically referencing people that came with termination letters.Report

              • Pinky in reply to CJColucci says:

                I read Sam’s comment the same way as you.

                Do I sometimes participate in conversations that don’t passionately interest me? Sure. This site has been dominated by primary endorsements lately, and I listen to a lot of sports talk radio, so I thought I’d jump in. And the parallels between this article and the recent Gillette one were interesting.

                Mostly, though, I was interested in Sam’s thinking. He seems to be complaining that any absence of liberal Overton Window movement is an active affront. That strikes me as profoundly messed up. I don’t know how a person could tolerate life like that.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Pinky says:


                “He seems to be” as if you can’t just ask. Again, the issue is neutering good sports coverage because of conservatives who fall to pieces encountering the realities of the politicians and the policies that they support. Le Batard’s show is an excellent example: it is better when he isn’t walking on eggshells around difficult issues. It is worse when he is. That ESPN thinks that Le Batard’s audience simply cannot handle it if he talks about those difficult issues is ridiculous.Report

              • Sam Wilkinson in reply to Jaybird says:

                That’s part of the oddity here: Le Batard can be consumed via multiple streams. He can be watched, listened to over the air, or via podcast (which is what I do). I watch ESPN when there are games I am interested in; I listen to other ESPN productions.

                In the modern world, is the threshold watching, or consuming?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                I’d say that the threshold is being able to answer the question “hey, if you’re arguing that there are examples of something happening on the network, could you provide these examples?” without having to rely on non-consumers taking your word for it.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

              “That you don’t watch, but are still invested in this, is an oddity.”

              This is like the inverse of that cartoon about “and yet you participate in society! Curious! I am very intelligent.”Report

  13. Jaybird says:

    A Press Release from ESPN from four days ago:

    ESPN enjoyed a hot July with viewership rising 18% over 2018, from 440,000 to 518,000 on a total day basis, according to Nielsen. This follows a June where ESPN experienced a 5% increase. In addition, ESPN2 was up 7% year over year for the month, from 148,000 to 159,000.

    The ESPN increase led to the network leading all of cable for total day in the key male demos – 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 – and to lead in prime time among men 18-34 and men 18-49. ESPN’s overall increase in prime time was 19%, from 745,000 to 883,000 including an increase of 33% for males 12-17.


  14. LTL FTC says:

    Unpopular opinion: “too much politics” is like pornography: you know it when you see it. Getting the balance between acknowledging that things are going on in the world and becoming yet more same-same wokeish pablum is an art. One that will inevitably piss some people off.

    If coverage of the Democratic primary has taught us anything, it’s that the laser focus on what thinkpiecers and bluechecks think is important has very little relation to what the vast majority of people (even people of the left) think is important.Report

  15. Saul Degraw says:

    Speaking of politics, the results for the 2nd debates are in and they are the opposite of the media largely:


    Warren did very well. Williamson and Delaney did not do well despite boosting from the pundit class. Warren’s climb remains constant and steady.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Earlier I was digging through the results from Politico.

      The bottom of the article has two links to the polling data.

      Sample size is 1996 registered voters. 453 or 463 said they watched the debates. That said, their sample size on questions about how various candidates did was 538, which is odd. Further, one might assume that the 453 or 538 included perhaps equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, and we don’t really care how Republicans thought various Democrats did. So, take their results with a grain of salt, unless perhaps they explain all that somewhere in all the text. So there may be a lot of respondents saying how candidates did when they didn’t even watch the darn debate.

      That said, they asked who did best in the debates. That response was:
      22% Elizabeth Warren
      15% Bernie Sanders
      13% Joe Biden
      8% Tulsi Gabbard
      6% Kamala Harris

      Then it drops way down into the 3% range.

      I’m not sure how much information can be taken from asking how each candidate did (Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor) because I’d swear that 25% of the respondents probably said every candidate did fair and 25% said every candidate did good.

      Later in the week more polls should come out, and perhaps then we can better discern any effect the debates had.Report

  16. Mike Schilling says:

    Don’t talk about politics. Just call the kneeling players a disgrace, like a good American.Report

  17. DensityDuck says:

    While the screenshots in this tweet are not about sports, they’re an example of what people mean when they say “I don’t want everything to be about politics”. Because not everything is a fucking history lesson. Not everything is Secretly Motivated By Racist Ideology. Not everything is a chance for you to educate people.Report

  18. Jesse says:

    So, today, a Miami Dolphins player called out the owner of his team for being a big-time Trump supporter.

    Should ESPN cover this? If it comes up on the debate shows, what is the “non-political answer?”Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

      A nice 25 second segment. “Today, Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver, called out the owner of his team, the Miami Dolphins, for being a big-time Trump supporter. Last year, he averaged 14.9 yards per play with his longest reception being 75 yards. He scored 6 touchdowns last season.”Report

      • Jesse in reply to Jaybird says:

        That’s great for Sportscenter.

        But, in other words, you’re saying it shouldn’t be a segment on First Take, which itself is a political choice. But, if it does come up on First Take, what are the acceptable non-political positions to take, that will not upset sports fans, who only want players to be good little toys, and not have opinions of their own.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

          A nice 2 minute segment. “Today, Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver, called out the owner of his team, the Miami Dolphins, for being a big-time Trump supporter.”

          Show the footage if there is footage. Show the tweet or the Instagram if it showed up there. Read the text.

          Dolphins Management responded by saying “(insert whatever management said here”. If there’s footage, show the footage. Show the tweet or the Instagram if it showed up there. Read the text.

          Then go to the next story.

          Then give Kenny Stills’ stats. Then give the Dolphins record from last year.Report

          • Jesse in reply to Jaybird says:

            So. in short, don’t actually talk about the issue, because it’ll accept sports fans, who don’t want their players to actually have opinions.

            Do you believe, in 1968, news organizations should’ve not talked about the Olympians raising their fist?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

              You asked me how I’d have it covered and I said I’d give it two separate treatments when asked. This is not not actually talking about the issue.

              “The network also says its research finds that fans, regardless of political affiliation, do not want to hear about politics on ESPN.”

              Do you believe, in 1968, news organizations should’ve not talked about the Olympians raising their fist?

              News organizations?

              Or ESPN?Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Jesse says:

          That’s great for Sportscenter.

          But, in other words, you’re saying it shouldn’t be a segment on First Take

          Max: “The analytics say players calling out their owners is bad for the league.”

          Stephen A: “I can’t believe I have to sit in the same room with this level of ignorance five days a week…”Report

  19. DensityDuck says:

    Something that did just occur to me about this post…

    I mean, how often do we all giggle at this “sir, this is a Wendy’s drive-thru” tweets?

    But isn’t this the same thing?

    Like, if you’re going to snicker at “sir please just tell me your coffee order”, it’s a bit odd to turn around and say that no, seriously, we should make sure to talk about politics everywhere because everything is political and it’s a mark of privilege and in fact a political statement in itself to say that you aren’t going to talk about politics in the middle of this toy robot review and–Report

  20. Jaybird says:

    A mirror image of sorts:


  21. Jaybird says:

    Oh, do I have a follow up story for YOU:


    • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      Can’t remember if it was Michael Brandon Dougherty or Matt Yglesias could both who said something like “if bringing US capitalism to China requires us undermine our civil liberties we might want to re-think our views on capitalism.”Report

  22. Chip Daniels says:

    At some level, when politics gets so awful and so essential to people’s existence, not talking about it gets less and less good manners, and more and more just bizzarre denial.

    Like if there was some sports radio show in New York on the morning of 9-11, and the host insisted that the guests not discuss the unpleasant happenings a few blocks away, but focus on what fans really cared about, like the latest player stats.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      “What is a few moments of temporary pleasure when compared to an eternity in Hell?”

      This is one of the questions asked of me when I expressed discomfort at witnessing to strangers on the beach.

      You gotta admit: they had a point.Report

  23. Jaybird says:

    Minor update: The owners of Deadspin have released a memo in a similar vein to the one ESPN sent out. From the story:

    “To create as much great sports journalism as we can requires a 100% focus of our resources on sports. And it will be the sole focus,” Maidment said. “Deadspin will write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.”

    The top editorial leader at G/O—the new company overseeing Deadspin, Gizmodo, Jezebel, Lifehacker, and a number of former Gawker Media sites—told employees that stories with tie-ins to sports were permitted to run on the site but that they should leave non-sports stories to the company’s other websites.

    “Where such subjects touch on sports, they are fair game for Deadspin. Where they do not, they are not,” Maidment wrote. “We have plenty of other sites that write about politics, pop culture, the arts, and the rest, and they’re the appropriate place for such work.”