Former ESPN commentator and writer Jason Whitlock assailed the left-wing lurch in the commentary at sports network ESPN for the millions of viewers that have left in the last few years. He made the comments Thursday on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News.
"ESPN is the most powerful and the most beloved brand in sports," Carlson said. "People love ESPN, some people still do, some people hate ESPN because of pushing politics. Why are they doing that?"
"I think you've asked the right question," Whitlock answered. "I think cord-cutting has a lot to do with their subscriber and the viewership loss. But the animosity and some of the viewership loss, I do think is a direct result of their lurch to the left, and injecting progressive victimology into the sports conversation.
"If you really understand sports culture, and all the values taught in sports," he explained, "from Little League, Pee Wee, on, you're never a victim. There are never any excuses that are accepted. Every coach teaches every play from 5 years old to 45 years old, we don't tolerate excuses, we don't tolerate victimology, and now so much of the conversation by the sports media, ESPN being the leader of this, is just filled with so-and-so is a victim, Colin Kaepernick is a victim, everybody's a victim. It's turning traditional sports fans off."
"It doesn't take a sports expert to predict something like that," Carlson said."People go to sports as a refuge from things like politics. So why would you throw it in the face of viewers, what is the point of that?"
"I think, again, so much of the media has moved left," Whitlock said. "I've written about this and talked about this and it applies to ESPN but it also applies to all the media. Silicon Valley, Google, Facebook, Twitter, is now in control of the mainstream media. Everyone is catering all of their content to Silicon Valley and San Francisco values. That's far different than the old media which catered everything to New York traditional liberal values. The values in San Francisco, a bit more revolutionary, a bit more progressive, than a traditional New York-based media."
Carlson praised him for the very deep point.
An analysis from Deep Root Analytics found some clear trends making the ESPN audience more liberal in response to what many saw as left-wing preaching on the channel:
- The ESPN audience became 5 percent less Republican in 2016 than 2015 across all 43 markets analyzed.
- ESPN2’s audience became 10 percent less Republican during the same time period.
- The biggest partisan shift happened on ESPN News, whose audience became 36 percent less Republican and more Democratic.
- ESPNU’s audience became 12 percent more Democratic in 2016 compared to 2015.
- ESPN Deportes – whose audience already skewed very liberal – became 27 percent more Democratic.