Deadspin and the Decline of “MSESPN”

I’ve joked that my superpower is liking sports media figures that many others despise, among them Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports One’s Speak for Yourself with Whitlock and Colin Cowherd — who doesn’t like a bit of sports media drama?

Whitlock seemed to serve up plenty of it in his May 7 article for the Wall Street Journal titled “How a Gawker-Affiliated Website Made ESPN Politically Correct” wherein he argues that constant attacks (fair or otherwise) from Deadspin got the once adventurous ESPN to begin kowtowing to the far-left ideology that Deadspin would presumably prefer to see the rest of sports media adopt.

This comes at a time wherein ESPN struggles with outsized TV contracts, “cord-cutting”, and the likely alienation of half the country as it recently laid off more than 100 employees announced in late April.

As Outkick The Coverage editor Clay Travis puts it:

The people being fired at ESPN today aren’t being fired because they are bad at their jobs, they’re being fired because ESPN’s business is collapsing. That collapse has been aided by ESPN’s absurd decision to turn into MSESPN, a left wing sports network, but that’s more a symptom of the collapse than it is a cause of the collapse. ESPN’s business is collapsing and the network is desperately trying to find a way to stay above water. You know how a drowning person flails in the water before slipping under? ESPN’s left wing shift is that flailing. They think going left wing will save them. The reality is the opposite, ESPN going left wing was like giving a drowning person a big rock to hold and thinking it would keep them from drowning. Instead, it just made them sink even faster.

That’s why ratings are down 16% this year compared to last year and viewers are abandoning the network in droves.

Middle America wants to pop a beer and listen to sports talk, they don’t want to be lectured about why Caitlyn Jenner is a hero, Michael Sam is the new Jackie Robinson of sports, and Colin Kaepernick is the Rosa Parks of football. ESPN made the mistake of trying to make liberal social media losers happy and as a result lost millions of viewers.

ESPN and others on the progressive left vehemently deny the injection of politics has anything to do with ESPN’s struggles.

It’s incorrect to say that it’s the only reason for its struggles, but it’s also incredibly myopic to pretend it has nothing to do with them.

ESPN’s lurch to the left isn’t the cause of its decline, but a cause.

For example, I don’t think anyone has to be a swivel-eyed rightist to understand why half the electorate might find something wrong with Caitlyn Jenner being awarded ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2015 above Mount St. Joseph basketball player Lauren Hill, who battled brain cancer while continuing to play on the university team.

She died Apr. 10 of that year.

Many also objected to Jenner being given the award above Noah Galloway, an Iraq War veteran who, after sustaining injuries in combat which necessitated the amputation of his left arm above the elbow, and left leg above the knee, went on to compete in extreme sports and was a finalist in the spring 2015 season of Dancing with the Stars.

Jenner by contrast was given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for doing something all the right-on, Very Important People™ in the media, academia, and politics would have fallen all over themselves to fawn over anyway, calling her “stunning and braveadnauseaum.

In the current political climate in which the notion that there are only two genders and sex is biologically determined regardless of gender identity or expression are now incandescently controversial, that’s not courage — not in the least bit.

It’s empty, sugar-high virtue-signalling for the sake of being showered with approbation on social media as a Very Good Person™ by other Very Important People™ .

ESPN is of course free to give the Arthur Ashe award to whomever it likes, but whether anyone wants to admit it or not, everyone knows awarding it to Caitlyn Jenner was about showing the requisite propitiation to far-left progressive orthodoxies in a day when presumably serious people suggest with all apparent seriousness, that children aged in the single digits should now be fed puberty blockers, other hormones, or be subjected to sex change surgeries because some people believe on a hair trigger children that age can determine their own gender before they’re mature enough to decide who to vote for or what they want to do for a living when they grow up.

It should not be in the least bit surprising when people who, for one reason or another, object to this agenda (among others), look at ESPN’s promotion of it and say “I’m out” before cancelling their cable subscriptions.

Some of Deadspin’s attacks against ESPN, as Whitlock notes, included suggesting Stuart Scott was cheating on his then-wife and spreading unconfirmed rumors of widespread sexual misconduct among ESPN employees.

They evidently worked, as Whitlock had the temerity to point out a cause he has identified as a reason for the network’s shift to the far-left, as part of the reasons behind its decline:

On the plus side, Deadspin’s exposure helped end ESPN’s sexually charged frat-house atmosphere. But it also extinguished the network’s risk-taking culture and infused it with strict obedience to progressive political correctness.

During ESPN’s presentation to advertisers last year, Deadspin’s Kevin Draper wrote a post that all but declared the blog’s victory over the media giant. In the piece, “ESPN’s Vision of Its Future Is Good for Sports Fans, for Now” the writer celebrated the network’s firing of Curt Schilling and the “targeting” of nonwhite and female viewers.

“The old-school viewers were put in a corner and not appreciated with all these other changes,” veteran ESPN anchor Linda Cohn said during an April radio interview when asked if ESPN’s liberal bent hurt the network. “If anyone wants to ignore that fact, then they’re blind.”

Rather than sue Mr. Denton’s bullying internet pirates into submission the way tech billionaire Peter Thiel did, ESPN chose to acquiesce and adopt progressive ideology and diversity as groundbreaking business innovations. ESPN is the exact network Deadspin desired. It’s diverse on its surface, progressive in its point of view, and more concerned with spinning media narratives than with the quality of its product.

Particularly after the recent termination of longtime Fox News primetime staple Bill O’Reilly on allegations of sexual harassment, it’s certainly wise of networks (or any other place of business, for that matter) to discourage any atmosphere that could in even the most vague terms be considered “frat-house”.

In fact, whether you believe O’Reilly is guilty or not, he’s a walking billboard for a broader interpretation on how not to behave of the Mike Pence rule, even if you don’t like the Vice President nor are even remotely as religious as he — you don’t have to be a regular churchgoer to believe it to be a matter of simple prudence.

It’s another thing however to steer the company in a direction in which it alienates half the country with a political slant in sports — a part of American culture which otherwise crosses a multitude of socio-political lines — especially when you have other problems threatening your network, such as subordinating quality-of-work by talent to other considerations when making hiring and firing decisions:

The channel has become too handcuffed by politics to protect its most experienced and loyal employees. It’s a massive symbol of everything that fueled Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.

ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder, one of the most prominent faces among the layoffs last month, said in a podcast that he heard quality of work would not be a consideration when employees were let go. He lamented that “it seemed to me that quality work should be the only consideration.” Not in this America, the one ruled by social-media perception and dismissive of the real world.

Political correctness is an especially powerful force such that judging by some of the reactions to Whitlock’s commentary there’s very little tolerance for freedom of thought among the left.

I understand what this is like particularly from my experiences in the political left which I quit in part over the strict ideological conformity ruthlessly policed by “call out culture“, social media shaming, or the targeting of livelihoods among other tactics of silence and intimidation at the sign of the slightest deviation from the party line.

This is exactly what Deadspin targeted ESPN with, and Whitlock knows this:

ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports. and going after ESPN is a way to move the rest of the media. And so…if you understand how to move the media, you don’t go after low hanging fruit, you go after the highest hanging fruit.

[If] you go look at what Deadspin and Gawker have been doing just in the sports lane…there’s a reason Peter King was in the crosshairs…Peter King I think personally is a liberal, but he covers football and football is a conservative sport.

if you look at Deadspin’s attack on me I’m probably the highest profile African-American columnist who writes from an independent point of view…I’ve been published in the Huffington Post and I’ve written about America’s Drug War, and mass incarceration, I’m not some flaming conservative, but in this environment where I tend to go either way, I could be a conservative or a liberal, I’m seen as a conservative and there’s been attack on me, and there’s been a much more consistent attack on ESPN, and I think the point of it was to move the entire media to the left.

If you make ESPN the example and everybody sees ESPN in the sports media lane as the destination  and if Deadspin is going after people on a consistent basis that either represent conservative institutions or occasionally spout conservative viewpoints or viewpoints consistent with sports culture, of course you go after ESPN and move the rest of the media.

Whitlock lays out a compelling case that Deadspin uses call-out culture, shaming and intimidation to enforce ideological conformity within the sports media.

The emotional manipulation they rely on to this end however may be a well that will soon run dry.

Easily the most fascinating reactions to President Trump’s victory I’ve seen or heard were from people who weren’t conservative, didn’t want him to win, or didn’t particularly like him, but who nonetheless savoured his victory because of the apoplexy from those who adamantly opposed his candidacy — the progressive-left has become that insufferable to many who might even agree with them on a number of issues.

Organizations like Deadspin may see themselves as thought leaders (as well as thought police), but as they continue their long march through the institutions, they’re shedding supporters as a result of their own conduct.

Armed with the ethics of Gawker and business sense of ESPN in 2017 Deadspin goading ESPN into making a hard left turn might lead them both to smash straight into a brick wall.

A Red Pill for Laci Green

A lot of people are making a big deal about the possible redpilling of Laci Green, of MTV infamy.

I try to be as comprehensive as possible in my writing and videos, but for the sake of brevity I’m going to assume that if you’re watching this video you already know a bit about Green and why she tends to be controversial or disliked among those who have come to find the brand of progressive identity politics peddled by MTV and the like toxic and insufferable.

Green published a video May 11th titled “TAKING THE RED PILL?” in which, after a long hiatus that in part involved interactions with anti-SJW YouTubers, such as Chris Ray Gun, and Blaire White, she might actually be coming around at least to being open to dialogue with anti-SJW/anti-feminist types, or perhaps even reconsidering some of her political opinions:

Having been a dissident leftist in the past, I applaud her for this even if there are some who question her sincerity.

I’m actually going to give her the benefit of the doubt for the moment precisely because it takes quite a lot of courage to break away from progressive-left orthodoxies.

On the left, one’s social and political circles tend to overlap significantly to the extent that to break away from the latter risks losing the former.

Laci may now know what some of this like, certainly in greater proportions than I considering the size of her audience since some of the reactions to this are about as predictable as it gets:

As I’ve said and wrote earlier, I understand what this is like particularly from my experiences in the political left which I quit in part over the strict ideological conformity ruthlessly policed by “call out culture“, social media shaming, or the targeting of livelihoods among other tactics of silence and intimidation at the sign of the slightest deviation from the party line.

It’s dangerous to question progressive-left orthodoxies because, to borrow from Dennis Prager, we think they’re wrong, the progressive-left thinks everyone who disagrees with them is evil.

To disagree isn’t merely to take issue with the specifics of one issue or another, but a sign of moral failure that must be forcibly corrected or purged by any means necessary.

Though I’ve quit left-wing politics outright, I did come out of the anti-SJW left — the types who might, for example, be for single-payer healthcare, support same-sex marriage, or a higher minimum wage, but think the pure insanity of identity politics that has come to dominate the left today is too radioactive to bother with anymore.

I’ve walked my own path politically since then, which as been as scary as it has been exciting, so this isn’t to suggest Green will put on a MAGA hat and start posting Pepe memes, nor even that’s where I’d necessarily like or want to see her go.

My own political evolution has been been an interesting journey, the tale of which may take a very long time for me to tell, and I certainly welcome her openness to dialog.

I think the important takeaway from this is that people can change, and that’s okay.

With that said, if you’re Laci Green if you’re watching this I wish you the best and I hope you feel better and sharper for having engage with people on the other side of the aisle.

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson on Kekistan

University of Toronto professor and clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson appeared on the May 9, 2017 edition of the Joe Rogan Podcast.

In this clip Dr. Peterson explains in part the phenomenon of “Kekistan”, a fictitious, tongue-in-cheek country and ethnicity comprised of “shitposters” known as “Kekistanis” who worship the ancient Egyptian deity Kek, a god of darkness and chaos. Kekistan gained traction as a meme in Jan. 2017 due to the efforts of YouTuber Sargon of Akkad.

Also worth checking out is Sargon of Akkad’s vid having a pretty good laugh at the the Southern Poverty Law Center’s expense for getting their take on Kekistan wrong:

The SPLC is the organization which absurdly put liberal Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz on it’s list of “anti-Muslim extremists” for his efforts in combating Islamist extremism, and was reprimanded by the Obama administration for being too loose with accusations of racism and bigotry.

Military Misadventures

The Trump administration launched an Apr. 6 cruise missile strike against an airbase in Syria in retaliation for a nerve gas attack alleged to have been carried out by the Assad regime which killed 86 people in a rebel held town.

Some of his more enthusiastic supporters are really unhappy, since he specifically campaigned against this kind of interventionism:

This has not gone unnoticed:

You don’t have to be a “Russian stooge”, have a doctorate in international affairs, or even serve in the military to be sick to your back teeth of endless military adventurism, particularly in the Middle East, the kind I along with millions of American voters voted against in 2016.

Apparently, the only difference between Clinton and Trump in this regard is that the enthusiastically hawkish Clinton would have done the same thing inside of three weeks of taking office, instead of three months.

The cruise missile strike accompanies news that the administration will pursue a policy of regime change to overthrow the Assad regime:

This necessarily evokes the question  as to what happens should the U.S., along with any “coalition partners” succeed.

I don’t think anyone, not even in the administration, has a clue nor will ever get one.

In the years since 9/11 there is ample evidence that this kind of meddling doesn’t work out very well, and there is no reason to believe it will work out well here.

This is not meant to be gratuitously callous to the suffering of those in Syria, nor those displaced by the civil war.

This is a simple admission of humility that the United States can neither house the entire world, fix its problems, nor remake it in our image nor should we try, no matter how powerful the guilt-tripping is from bien-pensant elitists:

No, Secretary Clinton, not only is it not our responsibility to intervene or otherwise meddle in affairs not our own, it’s not our place to do so, which would be yet another supreme act of hubris by the U.S. in the opening years of the 21st century.

Afghanistan alone with regard to the British occupation in the 19th century, and Soviet occupation in the 1980s provide crystal clear demonstration that empire-building is expensive and self-destructive, and I want no part of it, no matter how deeply involved the Russians are in the chemical attack.

I also have no patience for the kind of false choices offered by those who constantly beat the drum for the kind of wars that displace multitudes of people, and then help foist upon Europe in the name of empathy, diversity, and multiculturalism millions upon millions of migrants from such wars (as well as migrants of a more opportunistic bent) who have incompatible values, the result of this process which has been the accelerating destabilization of that continent.

We just can’t keep doing this forever.

If the Trump administration does follow through with any regime change plans in Syria, I have no reason to believe it will turn out any better than in Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan — we will invariably be bogged down in a hostile country, boxed in for years (if not decades) with people who hate us, have values almost entirely incompatible to ours, and who would bring their own intercommunal conflicts with them into the United States as they have in Europe.

This time we will enjoy the close proximity of a fellow nuclear-armed power which we have recklessly antagonized.

For this long-time Christopher Hitchens atheist, ISIS, against whom the Assad regime fights, is much higher on the ledger of what I consider a threat than Putin or Assad and I don’t have to love either to understand that the axiom “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” can on occasion be true.

The reverse can also be true.

The Kurds fight ISIS while Turkey bombs them — Turkey is the nation whose leader recently told Turkish expats living in Europe to have five children instead of three, as they are “the future of Europe”, while waging political campaigns in European countries as though Turks living in Europe are colonists more than genuine citizens of their adopted countries.

The increasingly Islamist government of Turkey aids the enemies of the West while declaring a demographic war against them.

Whatever the long-term goals of Assad or Putin may be, ISIS is composed of people who dedicate their lives to killing or forcibly converting the entire world’s population to the worst interpretation of The Religion of Peace™ against which both can and have been effective in fighting.

Regardless of the likelihood of their success, I highly doubt either Assad or Putin are nearly as ambitious as ISIS, and despite any suggestions of keeping friends close but enemies closer, I don’t want Turkey under Erdogan that close.

As in the 2016 campaign, the Syrian civil war is a conflict in which outsiders must pick between lesser evils.

Bombing the enemies of ISIS is to choose the greatest evil — acknowledging that plain truth requires no approval of anything done in that war by Assad or Putin.

I knew voting for Trump would be a mixed bag for someone whose politics are as complicated as mine are by now.

But in doing this he’s deeply angered his base of supporters which he will need for victory in 2020.

If he keeps doing stuff like this, not only will his base abandon him, I wouldn’t be surprised if a substantial primary opponent emerges in the 2020 election.

With past as prelude in Iraq and Afghanistan, if the U.S. invades Syria, that might be the least of his problems.

Whatever Trump’s political future may hold in store, after nearly 17 years since 9/11 of entanglements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere, enough is enough.

Attack on Parliament at Westminster

A car-and-knife attack outside the British Parliament has left four dead, another 20 wounded according to The Spectator:

Four people – including a police officer – have died and twenty people have suffered ‘catastrophic’ injuries in a terror attack outside Parliament. A 4×4 car was driven into pedestrians on the pavement of Westminster Bridge before being crashed into railings outside Parliament. It is believed a man armed with a knife then emerged from a vehicle and ran around the corner and into the entrance of the Palace of Westminster, where he fatally stabbed a police officer. The attacker was then shot two or three times by police. Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood is believed to have given first aid to the injured officer in the aftermath of the attack. The Telegraph are reporting that Ellwood – a former soldier whose brother died in the 2002 Bali terror attack – gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the officer in a bid to save his life.

The details of the attack fit a growing pattern of terrorist attacks featuring assailants plowing vehicles into groups of unsuspecting victims:

Truck attack at a Christmas market in Germany — 12 killed, 50 wounded

Truck attack at a Bastille Day festival in Nice, France — 84 killed

Car and knife attack at Ohio State University — 11 wounded

Truck attack in Jerusalem — 10 wounded

The Daily Mirror tweeted a photo of the suspect:

There are some who claim based on “reports” to have the name of the attacker, but the Metropolitan Police have not yet released any such information as of the time of this writing:

The Daily Mail says Channel 4 got it wrong in identifying the attacker as Trevor Brooks/Abu Izzadeen’s lawyer as well as his brother both of whom reportedly say that he’s still in jail:

Channel 4 has since walked it back:

I’m not ready to pull the trigger on believing anything about the attacker just yet, at least until we hear anything definitive from local law enforcement, but I don’t expect to learn that the attacker is Amish.

However this shakes out, the story is still developing, and Denzel Washington’s words ring especially true if the attacker is in fact not Brooks/Izzadeen:

Added Mar. 23

The London Metropolitan Police have named the person believed responsible for the attack:

From their statement:

The man police believe to be responsible for the terrorist attack in Westminster yesterday, Wednesday, 22 March, has now been formally identified as Khalid Masood.

Masood, aged 52 (25.12.1964), was born in Kent and detectives believe he was most recently living in the West Midlands. Masood was also known by a number of aliases.

Masood was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack.

However, he was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.

His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.

He has not been convicted for any terrorism offences.

Anyone with any information about Masood can call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321.