ESPN’s subscriber numbers are down, a trend that has everything to do with Americans canceling their cable packages and nothing to do with Bomani Jones saying that the way Colin Kaepernick has been treated is shameful. Clay Travis, an early morning Fox Sports radio host, has been trolling ESPN since late 2016, with claims that the cable sports network is excessively liberal. This is ridiculous on its face—ESPN is strictly nonideological and its most liberal personalities aren’t that far left.
If you see ESPN as culturally and politically far left, it says far more about your worldview than ESPN's https://t.co/55Lb2duI46
— Patrick Hruby (@patrick_hruby) April 26, 2017
But perhaps because of Travis’s incredible persistence, both the major media and ESPN itself have latched onto his claim that ESPN’s new wokeness is hurting its bottom line.
Like much of the rest of media after the election, the already centrist channel felt like it had to pander to the right wing of the country. Just this summer, the network re-hired Confederacy-loving singer Hank Williams Jr. for “Monday Night Football” and very pointedly released a study showing that conservatives had no issue with the network. And after a gutting round of ESPN layoffs in the spring, the New York Times decided that the voice of authority its readers needed to hear was Clay Travis.
Clay Travis, a Fox Sports contributor and editor of the website Outkick the Coverage, has labeled the network “MSESPN,” a reference to MSNBC, the cable news channel that frequently skews liberal in its analysis. Giving the courage award to Ms. Jenner, he said in an interview, smacked of “social engineering” on behalf of ESPN. He has also criticized what he called the “lionization” of Mr. Kaepernick.
As much as Travis has a “strategy,” incessantly typing the letters “MSESPN” is central to it. He’s tweeted and blogged it hundreds of times since December, and he even used the acronym in a story he broke this morning: “MSESPN Pulls Asian Announcer Named Robert Lee Off UVa Game To Avoid Offending Idiots.”
ESPN is being extremely stupid in pulling Lee from the game, but I am fucking sick of being forced to read “MSESPN” as some kind of liberal slur. It doesn’t even have the sliver of sense that Trump’s stupid jokes or the usual Limbaugh-ian portmanteaus do; it is wholly nonsensical. It is literally a worse joke than “libtard.”
MSNBC employs Joe Scarborough, Hugh Hewitt, George Will, Greta Van Susteren (briefly), Bret Stephens, and Nicole Wallace. It is not a leftist network; it does not “skew liberal in its analysis.” Sure, it might mess up Travis’s merch, but let’s come up with a better pejorative, conservative nickname for ESPN. Any of these terrible options are better than MSESPN:
- BernESPN Sanders
- Matt YgliESPN
- Mother JonESPN
- Edward SnowdESPN
- RoeSPN v. Wade
- ChelsESPN Manning
- Jeremy CorbESPN
- Lincoln ChaffESPN
- Center For American ProgrESPN
- Daily KoSPN
- But Her ESPN-mails
- The Daily BESPN