ESPN and Liberal Media Tanking in Ratings and Subscribers

by Stefan Farrar  •  •  December 1, 2016   

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DETROIT ( - ESPN and other liberal media outlets are experiencing a record loss in viewers, coupled with a significant increase in complaints. In October, ESPN lost more than 621,000 subscribers — the worst month in the company's history.

This month, ESPN lost 555,000 subscribers, which amounts to a total loss of 1,176,000 viewers over the last two months alone.

Clay Travis, a sports commentator for Fox Sports 1, remarked, "It just impacts ESPN the most because ESPN costs every cable and satellite subscriber roughly $7 a month, over triple the next most expensive cable channel."

When the numbers came out from Nielsen, a leading polling company, ESPN commented, "The Nielsen numbers represent a dramatic, unexplainable variation over prior months' reporting, affecting all cable networks. We have raised this issue with Nielsen in light of their demonstrated failures over the years to accurately provide subscriber data."

In spite of ESPN's statement, the numbers continue to bode poorly for ESPN's future.

Although there are many theories that could account for ESPN's decline, some are pointing to the perceived liberal bias of the network, including its all-encompassing coverage of football player Colin Kaepernick's protest of the national anthem, and his comments critical of the United States. When pressed to explain his protest of the national anthem, Kaepernick said,

I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there's significant change and I feel that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand.

Kaepernick recently came under fire for praising the late Fidel Castro, a man synonymous with brutal government oppression of political and religious dissidents in Cuba.

Even ESPN is admitting there's a left-leaning bias at the network. Jim Brady, ESPN's public editor, has admitted as much in an editorial after the presidential elections:

As it turns out, ESPN is far from immune from the political fever that has afflicted so much of the country over the past year. Internally, there's a feeling among many staffers — both liberal and conservative — that the company's perceived move leftward has had a stifling effect on discourse inside the company and has affected its public-facing products. Consumers have sensed that same leftward movement, alienating some.

Bob Ley, ESPN's longest-serving commentator, has also admitted that that there's a problem with bias at the network.

Ley commented, "We've done a great job of diversity. But the one place we have miles to go is diversity of thought."

A former ESPN commentator, Curt Schilling, remarked,

It was apparent to me early on that if you wanted to go off topic as a sports person you had to go off topic left, or you were going to get in trouble. Some of the most racist things I've ever heard have come out of people that are on the air at ESPN. They're some of the biggest racists in sports commentating.

Schilling was fired in April for a Facebook post critical of the transgender movement.

ESPN has come under criticism for what some see as politically motivated decisions in the past. For example, Bruce Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage last year for his attempts at transgender transition.

In response, noted sports commentator Bob Costas said, "It strikes me that awarding the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner is just a crass exploitation play — it's a tabloid play."

However, ESPN isn't the only media outlet that's received complaints in recent months.

After the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, the New York Times (NYT) was flooded with complaints from subscribers complaining about bias and lack of objectivity towards President-Elect Trump during the campaign. Although subscribers have gone up, the media outfit has had to publicly respond to criticism for its imbalanced reportage.

The NYT released an unprecedented letter to the public, reassuring readers that the paper would cover politics fairly moving forward. "You can rely on The New York Times to bring the same fairness, the same level of scrutiny, the same independence to our coverage of the new president and his team," insisted Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and Dean Baquet, the publisher and executive editor, respectively.

In spite of this public statement, the NYT has still received an unprecedented number of complaints from readers.

"The number of complaints coming into the public editor's office is five times the normal level, and the pace has only just recently tapered off," commented Liz Spayd, the public editor of the NYT.

She went on to say, "From my conversations with readers, and from the emails that have come into my office. I can tell you there is a searing level of dissatisfaction out there with many aspects of the coverage."


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