Jim Axelrod filed a completely one-sided report on Tuesday's CBS This Morning linking the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide to a lack of gun control inside the NFL – and in the country in general. Axelrod turned to only pro-gun control advocates as talking heads – Brady Center flack Marcellus Wiley, NBC's Bob Costas, and New York Times sportswriter William Rhoden.
Rhoden blamed the widespread availability of guns in the U.S. for sportsmen getting involved in violent incidents: "Why do athletes love guns? Well, the reality is that this is a gun culture. Lots of people - and lots of people with money - own guns." The correspondent also outlined that liberal newspaper journalist "says the issue of guns and athletes is about youth, money, and perceived power." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow isn’t even a starter, but the media still can’t resist taking potshots at him. “Good Morning America” ran a chirpy segment about Tebow – the backup quarterback for the New York Jets – being anonymously ripped by his teammates.
In the opening segment of Friday's Good Morning America, Amy Robach teased a Nov. 15 segment on the Jets quarterback by questioning: “Tim Tebow’s fall from grace? Celebrated for his dramatic last-minute touchdowns and praised for his faith. Now, being torn apart by his teammates behind his back. Why is the most popular man in football no longer hailed as a hero?”
As far as Joe Kernen of CNBC's Squawk Box is concerned, the word 'virgin' and Tim Tebow are synonomous. Apparently, there can be no conversation about Tebow without bringing it up in a mocking manner for what is essentially a deliberate and faith-based decision.
In an interview with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on Wednesday morning, the conversation transitioned from politics to football. Co-host Becky Quick asked about the backup quarterback, wondering what the future may hold for him. As complimentary as he could be, Johnson was adamant that Tebow will be on the team for at least three seasons.
That's when Kernen perked up, posing an innappropriate question for the team's boss without a second thought. [ video below the page break, MP3 audio available here ]
The Washington Post Sports section on Wednesday turned political with an article headlined "Wisconsin governor fumbles on Twitter: Walker sees collective bargaining in a new light after Packers' loss." Would the Post actually fail to recognize the difference between private-sector unions and public-sector unions, the subject of Walker's reforms? Yes.
Strangely, the author wasn't a sports reporter. It was Brad Plumer, a veteran writer for The New Republic and Mother Jones whose usual Post habitat is Ezra Klein's Wonkblog. In fact, that's where this article is found online. Plumer joked "When it comes to professional football, the usual rules of politics apparently take a timeout."
Openly gay and outspoken same-sex marriage advocate Thomas Roberts today devoted a segment of his MSNBC program to a pre-recorded interview with Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is publicly supportive of a new Maryland law legalizing same-sex marriage. Yet nowhere in that interview did Roberts mention that it was a Democratic state delegate who tried to silence Ayanbadejo.
As I noted on September 10, the broadcast networks were silent about State Del. Emmett C. Burns's August 29 letter to Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti in which Burns called on Bisciotti to "inhibit such [political] expressions" from his players. While Roberts did note that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke out recently in favor of NFL players speaking their minds on political issues, the MSNBC anchor failed to mention that that was in response to a question at a press conference regarding Del. Burns's statement.
NFL commissioner Robert Goodell weighed in on a recent controversy involving a Maryland state legislator who sent a letter to the owner of the Baltimore Ravens that called upon him to silence linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who supports same-sex marriage. "I think in this day and age, people are going to speak up about what they think is important. They speak as individuals and I think that’s an important part of democracy," Goodell answered diplomatically.
Reporting on the story, Politico's Kevin Cirilli gave readers the background that State Delegate Emmett C. Burns, Jr. played in the controversy, but avoided mentioning Burns's party affiliation in both occasions when he referenced Burns, an African-American Democrat and Baptist minister:
Barely able to contain his glee over the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams enthused to political director Chuck Todd: "...some of these numbers are ahead of the wildest dreams of the Democratic campaigners." Todd agreed: "They are." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd touted leads for President Obama in the battleground states of Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, and eagerly noted: "...the right track, wrong track numbers, for the first time since we've been testing in these state polls, the right track is over 40%." Todd then cited partisan talking points to explain the modest improvement: "Some Democrats have been telling me, that's the Clinton bump, referring to Bill Clinton's speech [at the Democratic National Convention]."
Promoting his fawning profile of President Obama for the October issue of Vanity Fair on Tuesday's NBC Today, contributing editor Michael Lewis described a game of basketball he played with the commander in chief: "...it was actually very revealing...he doesn't let anybody treat him like the president. If you're watching the game, you'd have no idea who – which one is the president...he likes a really challenging environment...it's a relationship among equals." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The gushing from Lewis was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer wondering: "What did you see about the way he [Obama] handles himself on the court that sheds some light on his personality and how he might handle himself in the job?" Lewis observed: "...he's effective on the court, he's a good basketball player – but he plays a game that seems very risk averse....But then all of a sudden, when there's a risk to take, it's boom. He's got the personality of a sniper."
During the first centuries of Christianity, Christians were thrown to lions in arenas to be jeered by mocking crowds. Today, Christian athletes face the taunts of a media strongly opposed to their faith.
No Christian athlete draws more media catcalls than New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. CBSChicago.com writer Dan Bernstein dismissed Tebow as “little more than an affable simpleton” and slammed his fans as “lunatic-fringe cultists.” Columnist Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of The Jewish Week expressed his desire that Tebow’s Broncos would lose a playoff game because a Broncos victory would “buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.” Radio host Craig Carton was the latest to jump on the anti-Tebow bandwagon, calling him a “fraud” and complaining that he “clearly thinks he is Jesus” on his August 14 radio show.
Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones responded to a New York Times story that trashed her as a "vixen, virgin, victim," telling co-host Savannah Guthrie: "...it was two days before I competed. And then the fact that it was from a U.S. media....they should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes, and instead they just ripped me to shreds....they just tore me apart, it was heartbreaking." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While millions of Americans are happily tuning in to cheer on their fellow countrymen and root for Team USA, some members of the liberal media are not smiling. Salon.com writer David Sirota, author of a lengthy piece published on Wednesday, is among them, and finds himself "increasingly interrupted by pangs of discomfort" watching our nation's athletes compete on the world stage. "Not because," he claims, he is "ashamed of our country or our Olympians," but because of the way that "the relationship between American nationalism and the Olympics" has been "infused with...politicized meaning."
First, he launched into a tirade about the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics which he calls "a Cold War spectacle of hyper-patriotism deliberately orchestrated to give the big middle finger to the boycotting Soviets and their allies." Then, he called the 1992 Barcelona games an excuse to use the Olympics to "to spike the ball in the end zone — or, more accurately, 360 windmill dunk over the rest of the planet" and questions why "we have to rub our strength in" and "preen on the world stage in such cartoonish fashion."
The Olympic Games, which begin this week, is an exhibition of the sportsmanship, teamwork, and the competitive spirit that make sports so enjoyable. But for many in the media, sports is just another excuse to engage in divisive political commentary. The sports media transform an apolitical past-time into a forum for their own politics.
Progressives have actively attempted to remake the Olympics into a celebration of their own political ideals. From calls to make the summer Games “a forum for the promotion of LGBT rights,” to criticism of the International Olympic Committee as “the 1 percent of the 1 percent,” lefties care less about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat than using the world’s biggest sporting event to pound for their pet causes.
In an online article on Tuesday, CBS's Lucy Madison all but pointed the finger at Mitt Romney for the decision to produce the uniforms of the 2002 U.S. Winter Olympic team in Burma. Madison cited left-wing website The Huffington Post as a main source: "In 2002, when Romney was at the helm of the Salt Lake City Olympics, the outfits were produced in Burma, as the Huffington Post pointed out last night."
However, the network's own reporting on the 2012 uniform controversy noted how the U.S. Olympic Committee makes the decision on the uniforms. Romney didn't lead the USOC over a decade ago, but rather the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the games. The president of the USOC at that time was Sandra "Sandy" Baldwin, who was forced to resign later in 2002, according to a CNN report.
In a nasty rant at the end of Thursday's Rock Center on NBC, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams slammed the hosts of FNC's morning show for daring to criticize the uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team: "Trouble on Fox & Friends. It started when the morning show crew mocked the new Ralph Lauren outfits...." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
After playing a clip of Gretchen Carlson being critical of berets being part of the uniform, Williams sneered: "The jingoism continued. Another host wondered why they couldn't wear something more American, like baseball caps or cowboy hats. Until the viewer e-mails started pouring in, reminding them some real Americans, U.S. soldiers, are issued berets."
Ben Maller skewered Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as a "homophobic boxing superstar" and a "bigoted boxer" in a Wednesday post on ThePostgame.com, an online magazine of Yahoo! Sports. Pacquiao had criticized the redefinition of marriage in a Friday interview: "It [marriage] should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of old."
Maller, who is also a talk radio host for Fox Sports Radio, also trumpeted that the boxer, "long a darling of Madison Avenue, figures to lose a number of endorsements and fans over his intolerant, bullheaded position."
Catching up with Bryant Gumbel from a couple of weeks ago, on the April edition of his Real Sports show on HBO, the NBC News and CBS News veteran came to the defense of Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, who caused outrage amongst Cuban-Americans when he declared “I love Fidel Castro.” In an end of the program commentary, Gumbel couldn’t resist taking a jab at conservatives, charging:
Whipping up a frenzy over slights real and imagined is a play straight out of a far right handbook and Florida’s electoral cloud has often given Fidel’s critics far more leverage than their arguments merit.
Sorry, Masters golf tournament, you may be the most prestigious contest in the sport, but you don't meet the exacting standards of feminist activist/NYT golf writer Karen Crouse: "High-ranking players with daughters are not willing to talk about it. Somebody has to make a stand. Why not me in my own little way?”
The New York Times reporter is not done with her crusade against Augusta National. After excoriating the club's all-male membership policy in both a column and news story yesterday, the opening day of The Masters, Crouse told Golf.com's Damon Hack that she did not want to cover the tournament again until a woman was admitted to the club.
ABC and NBC could barely contain their contempt while covering the controversy over the all-male Augusta golf club. Katie Couric, guest anchoring Good Morning America on Thursday, lectured the organization hosting the Masters tournament to allow a woman in: "I mean, really. Get with the program. Seriously?"
Reporter Josh Elliott lamented that Augusta has remained "cloistered," "a secretive sanctuary for golfers and one that has never admitted a woman. On Wednesday's Nightly News, correspondent Lisa Myers wondered what Augusta Chairman Billy Payne would "tell his granddaughters about why women are excluded."
Responding on Tuesday to NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer wondering if Tim Tebow would be the "right fit" for the New York Jets, advertising executive Donny Deutsch predicted the faithful quarterback was doomed: "Wrong. Couldn't have made a worse move. This will be his Waterloo. New York will take him down. We are a very tough, jaded city. They're not going to buy this unconditional love."
Lauer set up the question to the show's Today's Professionals panel by describing the New York culture as antithetical to Tebow's Christian values: "Is this a fit? This is New York City. The city that never sleeps. This is Joe Namath town, that he owned as a swinging bachelor. It's the city of A-Rod and Donald Trump."
Wherever devout Christian quarterback Tim Tebow goes, he is dogged by the hatred of those who cannot stand him or his faith. Tebow was traded from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets amid much media fanfare, and some sportswriters naturally used the occasion to engage in personal attacks on Tebow, his religion, and his fans.
MSNBC invited Nation sports editor Dave Zirin to give his opinion on Tebow’s move to New York. Zirin bizarrely argued that “there are a lot of LGBT people that live in New York City who are also football fans”and that “the new, possibly, starting quarterback for the New York Jets wants them to move backwards 30 or 40 years.”(The Denver Broncos refused to participate in anti-heterosexual Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project” when Tebow was still on the Broncos, drawing the ire of the gay community and the left-wing media.)
MSNBC can't even keep liberal politics out of sports. Nation sports editor Dave Zirin appeared on the cable network, Wednesday, to hyperventilate over the announcement that Tim Tebow has been traded to the New York Jets. Zirin berated, "...There are a lot of LGBT people that live in New York City who are also football fans and they might want to know why the new, possibly, starting quarterback for the New York Jets wants them to move backwards 30 or 40 years."
Why does Tebow want to set gays back 40 years? Because he once did a very mild pro-life commercial for Focus on the Family? Completely going off on a tangent, Zirin whined, "Now, I don't want to shock you, Tamron, but there are a lot of women in New York who use birth control." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The dictionary.com definitions of "taunt" including the following: as a verb, "to reproach in a sarcastic, insulting, or jeering manner; mock" and "to provoke by taunts; twit"; as a noun, "an insulting gibe or sarcasm; scornful reproach or challenge."
Note that the definition does not include: "to make eye contact." Unfortunately, Yahoo sportswriter Graham Watson's dictionary apparently does. Even though all Mississippi Valley State guard Kevin Burwell did after making a three-point shot was look over at President Obama and (according to the broadcasters, not Watson) make eye contact for what could hardly have been more than a half-second, Watson turned it into a "taunt," and even seemed to pin the blame for MVSU's loss on Burwell:
During his first hour today, Rush mentioned the reaction of Peter King at Sports illustrated in King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" collection to a paragraph in the magazine's cover story on Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks' point guard who has broken through from obscurity to phenom during the past two weeks. What King wrote is indeed an interesting giveaway of what I believe is a common but unsupportable media perspective, namely that students at and graduates of elite upper-echelon universities like those in the Ivy League are presumptively free of overt racism, because, well, they're all so enlightened.
Late Saturday morning, a brief, unbylined Associated Press item ("ESPN sorry for offensive headline on Lin story") reported that "ESPN has apologized for using a racial slur in a headline for a story on Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin."
The racial slur in question involves using "Chink in the Armor" to headline a story posted on the network's mobile website after the Knicks lost Friday night to the lowly New Orleans Hornets, ending a seven-game winning streak. The text of ESPN's apology and discussion of the AP's protective oversights follow the jump:
The MSM loves Jeremy Lin for now. But how long before he gets the Tebow treatment? Check out the video of the opening of today's Morning Joe. In just over two minutes, the show ran clips of Knicks player Jeremy Lin hitting a three-point buzzer beater last night . . . no fewer than 10 times.
But Morning Joe was far from finished. I counted a total of 28 Lin clips during the course of the show. Donnie Deutsch opined that "this is one of the few things where the 1% and the 99% can agree." Mike Barnicle later expressed a similar sentiment. Clearly the Lin story is moving America. But query how long he will remain a uniting figure should the MSM, as in the case of similarly-inspirational Tim Tebow, start mocking his devout Christianity? Video after the jump.
It would appear that if Kevin Paul Dupont were king, he would be exploring how to send the Stanley Cup Finals exploits of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas last year down the memory hole. Thomas "held the Canucks to eight goals in seven games" and became the first goalie ever to shut out his team's opponent in a deciding Game 7 on the road, helping the Bruins win their first Cup in almost 40 years.
Since he can't do that, the Boston Globe sportswriter appears to want to use Thomas's absence from the team's White House visit three weeks ago and subsequent Facebook postings as evidence that Thomas's "legacy" is in danger (his column's headline states that Thomas needs to "restore" it). In making his supposed case, the self-professed "confused" Dupont made and repeated a fundamental factual error. Those errors destroy any credibility he may have had in portraying Thomas's decision and subsequent Facebook postings as somehow disrupting team unity:
Those who believe that the establishment press has gone completely to the dogs can cite support for that contention in an Associated Press story about an anti-Mitt Romney demonstration at the Westminster dog show in New York earlier today.
The story is about how "a dozen demonstrators ... plus a few pooches" showed up to demonstrate against something Romney allegedly did 29 years ago. Really. This story is sooooo important that as of 2:46 p.m., it was the second item listed at AP's Top Sports News (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):
The Super Bowl halftime show wouldn't be the Super Bowl halftime show without some controversy. In 2004, Justin Timberlake infamously ripped open part of singer Janet Jackson's costume. This year, controversy arose in the form of a backup singer, using her middle finger to draw attention to herself.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Friday altered a quote from an ESPN reporter, turning a question about Tim Tebow into a declaration that the faith of the quarterback is why he's such an "astonishingly polarizing," "divisive figure."
On ESPN 2's First Take, Skip Bayless wondered, "Do you believe your faith is the biggest reason you're such an astonishingly polarizing figure, a divisive figure in the country? Everybody has a strong opinion, love him or hate him, on Tebow." During the Josh Elliott segment on GMA, Bayless's query became a proclamation: "Your faith is the biggest reason you're such an astonishingly polarizing figure, a divisive figure in the country." [MP3 audio here. See video below.]
Politically conservative Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is being vilified for not joining his hockey teammates Monday afternoon at the White House for a ceremony honoring the team’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship, but Hockey News senior writer Ken Campbell suggested that if a few years ago some stars “had snubbed the White House in 2004 to protest the Bush-led U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, my guess is they...would have had all kinds of unwavering support in the media for taking such a courageous stance.”
It was “just rude not to go,” NBC’s Nancy Snyderman declared on Tuesday’s Today show where former CNBC host Donny Deutsch complained Thomas had “cheapened” the honor. TheBoston Herald headline, “Tim Thomas told: ‘Stick to hockey’; Slammed for Obama snub.” A Boston Globe headline asserted: “Tim Thomas wrong to skip White House trip.” The Globe’s hockey writer denounced Thomas as “Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered.”