ESPN and the Politicization of SportsIt is always worth remembering that Orwell based his Ministry of Truth on the people he met in the BBC.
ESPN deals with disputes as though they aren’t. Tautologically, a controversy doesn’t elicit unanimity. As the votes among the democratically-elected legislature in Arizona indicates, a view beyond the narrow one aired by Wilbon and Kornheiser exists. But it doesn’t exist on ESPN.
It may be the wrong view, but the network doesn’t help viewers to see this by exposing them to a caricatured version of it. Given that the four-letter sports behemoth, and its ombudsman, seem committed to covering sport more aggressively when it intersects with politics and culture, shouldn’t it make more of an effort to acknowledge that it reaches an audience far more diverse in outlook than those watching from a cable-television campus in Connecticut? Dispensing with the political litmus test for the non-jock talkers would be an encouraging start.
The ESPN ombudsman is Robert Lipsyte. I think that the New York Times passed a key waypoint on its decline when it rehired Lipsyte as a sports columnist. A sports writer who hates sports is a pretty good indicator that the paper wanted to preach instead of report.
Why did Robert Lipsyte become a sportwriter?
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