CFP: Last week all-sports cable TV channel ESPN sent out pink slips to 100 employees, many of them on-air personalities. Profits have been declining since last year in large part because of the 12 million viewers who, since 2011, have dropped their subscriptions.
Yet even at this late date, there are those who insist this has nothing to do with the network’s pervasive left-wing bias, preferring to blame it on customers switching over to mobile viewing.
Among the usual suspects promoting this view is Kevin Draper of Deadspin.
ESPN’s liberal bent
Regarding ESPN’s liberal bent, he writes
This last is a point a lot of the network’s dumbest critics have pointed to as a reason for ESPN’s decline, and even levied as a charge of sorts. It’s true, of course, if not necessarily for the reasons those that are making it think it is. Former New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent once titled a column “Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?,” and answered the question in the first line: “Of course it is.” He would later regret his flippancy, but the basic argument was sound: The Times’ viewpoint was (and is) urban, northeast, and educated, and members of those groups generally skew liberal.
Draper’s breezy dismissal of liberal politics as a reason for ESPN’s declining subscriber base reminds me of the quick excuses pundits gave for the National Football League’s ratings drop last season: Well, ratings have been declining for a while, and there is a presidential election going on, and that explains the drop, not Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest. But shortly thereafter an independent survey showed that, yes, Kaepernick’s juvenile idiocy was one reason for the fall in viewership. read more