Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise took apart Bryant Gumbel's racial trash-talking about the Winter Olympics in Friday's paper as I hoped a sports writer would. (Although you could grumble that it would have more punch on the front page of Sports instead of the top of the Olympics section on E-11, But let's face it, on the test of its newness, we're all writing about "earlier this month" instead of "last night.") Wise began by noting that in sports TV, Gumbel was a racial pioneer in a pretty white sportscasting bastion, much like speed skater Shani Davis or bobsledder Vonetta Flowers, and then followed up:
Gumbel has a right not to like the Winter Olympics. He can trash curlers, lugers and snowboard-crossers all he wants. But who made him arbiter of all things culturally diverse? Superimposing your own idea of diversity upon athletes from 80 different nations, essentially equating diversity with only race, is just inane.
Things didn't work out well at the Olympics for Johnny Weir, the flamboyant American figure skater. Favored to take home a medal, he finished a disappointing fifth after a very rugged long program.
But Johnny shouldn't feel too bad. When he hangs up the skates, there could be a promising second career for him . . . as a member of the liberal media.
Interviewed on CBS' Early Show this morning, Weir explained that he knew he wasn't at his best on the day of the long program, and in particular wasn't "feeling pretty." Then, waxing philosophical, he noted that things aren't always perfect. If they were, Michelle Kwan would be skating, and "we wouldn't be in Iraq."
As reported by Dave Pierre of NewsBusters Thursday, HBO’s Bryant Gumbel made some truly absurd and obviously racist remarks recently on his “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” program. To refresh everyone’s memory, Gumbel was in the middle of a rant about why the Winter Olympics aren’t sports when he blurted out “So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.” (Video Link)
This faux pas looks even more absurd given the gold medal that Shani Davis won Saturday night in speed skating, making him the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympics history. As reported by the Chicago Tribune:
First there was Bryant Gumbel. But has one of our own Olympic athletes also politicized this installment of the Winter Games? In an NBC profile of U.S. champion figure skater Johnny Weir this past week, the flamboyant athlete is shown lying on a couch wearing a red sweatjacket with the decoration of CCCP, the Cyrillic Russian initials of the old USSR [link to video at gawker.com, see note below]. Yes, we have now seen the day when an Olympic athlete, representing the United States, is seen casually wearing a sweatjacket symbolizing the old Soviet Union.
On the heels of CNN pledging $100,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association, CNN has now pledged $50,000 to the Native American Journalists Association. Are they liberal "diversity" czars? Yep. Redskins fans in particular can read their "Reading Red Report 2003: A Call for the News Media to Recognize Racism in Sports Team Nicknames and Mascots." (Enjoy the comparison of using the Redskins name to the description of grotesque fatal "splattering" head injuries.)
This is good news," NAJA President Mike Kellogg (Navajo) said. "NAJA awarded more than $25,000 in scholarships last year and each year we see more requests from students. We're delighted that in the coming years we'll be able to help more of our future broadcasters."
Liberal media bias isn't limited to news reporters. At least when it comes to the Boston Globe, it clearly extends to the sports department.
Boston Globe sports reporter Dan Shaughnessey just completed an interview with the edgy Jim Rome, host of the eponymous 'Jim Rome is Burning' on ESPN. The topic was Detroit's worthiness as a Super Bowl site. Shaughnessey vigorously defended Motown in these terms: "Detroit is a real city. You can get the New York Times here."
In closing, Shaughnessey took a gratuitous swipe at recent Super Bowl host city Jacksonsville, calling it a "yahoo town" that should never have been granted hosting privileges.
Over at Slate, Mickey Kaus went to town on the newest proof of the tick-tight relationship of NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert and James Carville, embarrassing "he just groped Gennifer Flowers in a bar" Clinton spinner. Russert has now created his own personal Washington ethical scandal:
Lukegate: Step 1) Tim Russert books the tired Carville-Matalin act more than 35 times on his Meet the Press talk show, boosting their bankability on the lucrative lecture circuit. Step 2) Carville--with Russert's eager prodding--also uses their most recent, conveniently-timed MTP appearance to plug his new XM Satellite radio sports show. ... That's smarmily venal enough, you say? Wrong! Step 3) Carville's co-host on the XM show is Russert's son, Luke, who is "currently a sophomore at Boston College." Russert and Carville joke about this on the air but don't quite have the balls to actually inform viewers of the key conflict:
Okay, please take this with a grain of Cheesehead salt, but um, I have a reason why conservatives could root for the Carolina Panthers against those dreaded Chicago Bears today. Bears QB Kyle Orton? Big liberal. In the midst of some research into the weird absence of the words "Kerry" and "Hillary" within 50 words of each other in the fall of 2004, I came across this USA Today piece, where an Orton teammate at Purdue related, "He said that if John Kerry doesn't get elected, he's going to throw himself headlong into the Hillary Clinton camp." The report had more detail:
Now he understands that Orton's success on the football field could one day be seen as the introduction of an ambitious liberal democrat to a larger audience.
One side benefit to my beloved Redskins advancing in the playoffs is the incredibly awkward position it's forced upon the Seattle Times. Even their liberal friends at the Washington Post found it notable enough to point out how Seattle Times' policy regarding Native American-inspired nicknames has put them in a bind regarding their coverage of this week's playoff game:
CHEAP SHOTS: To avoid insulting native American heritage, the Seattle Times decided to limit severely the use of the term Redskins in the paper -- even if a team with that name will dominate news coverage this week. The Times will not use the moniker in headlines or captions. Reporters can use it only once, as a first reference, in all stories. The Redskins will be referred to almost exclusively as Washington -- which could get a little confusing for local readers who also live in that state.
The latest installment of NewsBusters' series on political bias in sports coverage features the Washington Post columnist Joel Achenbach, who, apropos of University of Texas quarterback Vince Young's performance in last night's national-championship college-football game, wrote on his blog that Young
did the impossible: He not only took his team from 12 back with only 6 minutes left, he kept me up past midnight. This hasn't happened in years. Young also got me to root, secretly, for Texas in those final minutes. You can't root openly for Texas, even in the privacy of your own living room, because of the, you know, political associations. Let's not get into that.
Earlier this week, one columnist for ESPN’s web site went out of his way to recycle a cheap shot at President Bush, and another inadvertently reminded some of us that for a few brief, shining moments, a highly rated, prime-time, broadcast-network TV program aired unambiguously conservative points of view.
--Scoop Jackson (no relation to the late U.S. Senator from Washington state) took the NFL to task for "showing zero compassion for the people of New Orleans or [Saints] players" in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Fair enough, but Jackson also sniped, "It almost made you wish Kanye West would have added the NFL to the comment he made about George W. Bush."
Apparently my recent Newsbusters article about Muhammad Ali ruffled some feathers. Last week USA Today sports writer Jon Saraceno wrote a puff piece about Ali and the Medal of Freedom, in which he couldn't resist taking a jab at me for bringing up Ali's treason during Vietnam. In classic left-leaning media manner, he copied and pasted one sentence out of the context of the entire article condemning Ali. I expected as much; this is the MSM, after all. But what was inexcusable was the fact that he provided no link to the article or even to my website so that his readers could judge for themselves what was actually written.
Look, I wrote then and will do so again now that Ali was indeed a gifted boxer and athlete. But that does not now nor will it ever make him a hero. He has everything he does because there were men in the past who knew there were things out there bigger and more important than themselves, and they were willing to seal that belief with their youth, their time, and even their lives. THAT is a hero. Ali took what this country had to give, but when asked to help others gain the same freedoms, his answer was a resounding "Not I." Like the selfish barnyard animals who refused to help the hen sew the wheat to make the flour to bake the bread, Ali was only too willing to take a piece of what he was NOT willing to help create.
The front of Wednesday's Sports section features a profile of Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas by Ira Berkow, "A Center Fakes Right, Goes Left, Speaks Out."
Berkow is proud of Thomas for speaking out against the Iraq war and Bush, stating that Thomas "spoke about his resistance to the war in Iraq and recited his poetry on the subject before hundreds of thousands of people at the Operation Ceasefire rally, held in the shadow of the Washington Monument....Thomas, 27, writes with passion about the necessity of education for young people, argues against the death penalty, laments teenage pregnancy and deplores the insensitivity, as he sees it, of the Bush administration toward blacks. He also skewers the gang mentality of some in the inner city."
Berkow quotes some of Thomas' poems ("The essence of their happiness/Cloaked in a web of lies/As far as their eyes can see/They're doomed.") and his even less coherent political diatribes: "Thomas has been active with causes involving the American Civil Liberties Union and the Congressional Black Caucus, and helped raise money and supplies for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 'Do you really think, had this been a rich, lily-white suburban area, instead of one mostly poor and black, that got hit, the administration would have waited five days to get food or water to those people?' Thomas said. 'When the hurricane hit in Florida, Bush made sure those people got those supplies the next day.'"
Incidentally, the far-left Nation magazine profiled Thomas over a month ago saying almost exactly the same thing.
The Times claims to like it when athletes speak out on politics -- but apparently, only when it's in an anti-Bush direction. When tennis star Jennifer Capriati wanted to support the troops by having Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad" played during the warm-up for one of her matches in Miami in March 2003, the NYT's liberal sportswriter Selena Roberts sniffed: "Politics aside, her logic was questionable. How uplifting is a song illuminated by such abrasive lyrics?"
For conservatives seeking refuge from the hurricane of liberalism that is the MSM, sports coverage is normally a safe redoubt. And if any sport would normally be considered a haven safe from liberalism, it is golf.
But danger lurks everywhere. And it took no more than the flimsy excuse of an important golf event being played in the Washington, DC suburbs for the MSM to air a love letter to Democratic icon JFK.
The piece was aired this morning at the beginning of the USA Network's coverage of the Presidents Cup, an event in which a US team goes up against a team of players from countries around the world outside Europe.
Rich Lerner, who normally works for the Golf Channel, narrated the segment. In fairness, Lerner is undoubtedly the Golf Channel's most talented essayist, and often brings perceptive and moving dimension to his reporting. But here, he was palpably incapable of preventing his true liberal colors from showing.