Sports media such as ESPN and the media in general have lurched to the far left in part due of the efforts of Silicon Valley-based progressive ideologues. As a result, New York City is no longer the pinnacle of the journalism industry.
"Long a lightning rod for his take-no-prisoners views, Whitlock has a long history in sports media," Breitbart News noted.
After two tours of duty with ESPN, the contrarian Whitlock — the former Kansas City Star and Huffington Post columnist, and Ball State University football player — rejoined Fox Sports.
With Colin Cowherd, another ESPN expatriate, Jason Whitlock is the old timey fedora-wearing co-host of Speak For Yourself, an offering on the ratings-challenged FS1 TV channel airing weekdays at 5 p.m. Eastern time, which appears to be Fox network's answer to ESPN's Pardon the Interruption.
With controversial opinions all over the map, Jason Whitlock in the past has been alternatively accused by his detractors — many of whom make their feelings known on Twitter — of playing the race card, as well as being a sellout and an Uncle Tom. "Over the years, Whitlock has taken several unpredictable and often unpopular positions, especially when racial issues intersect with sports," the New York Times detailed in September of 2010.
Whitlock left the Bristol, Connecticut-based ESPN for the second time in the fall of 2015, several months after losing his gig as editor-in-chief of the long-form sports journalism site The Undefeated, which has been described as the "black Grantland." The Undefeated finally launched officially on May 17, 2016, although the sports network shut down Grantland in late October 2015, five months after the departure of high-profile editor Bill Simmons, whose HBO show was canceled in early November 2016.
In an interview with Sporting News, the journalist claimed that the far left seeks to detach sports culture from what he considers its traditional conservative values and move it in a liberal direction. "Sportswriting has moved far left. The entire media has moved far left," he declared.
The FS1 host also insisted that this progressive evolution is function of the outsized impact of social media, which has digitally replaced New York City as the epicenter of the media industry and the "hub" of liberalism.
"Journalists used to be obsessed with working at a New York magazine or newspaper or TV network. Now the entire industry is obsessed with going viral and how words will be received via social media. Who determines this? San Francisco/Silicon Valley, the hub for revolutionary, far-left extremism, the home base for Twitter and Facebook…San Francisco is driving the American media, not New York. You have young, microwaved millionaires and billionaires reshaping the American media in a way that reflects San Francisco values...San Francisco hacked the media. Frisco-inspired clickbait is the real fake news."
In an essay on the ESPN website published in December 2016, public editor (i.e., ombudsman) Jim Brady conceded that the self-designated Worldwide Leader in Sports has moved in a leftward direction, alienating some viewers. In this climate, ESPN staffers with conservative views feel compelled to keep their views to themselves, Brady suggested. For whatever reason or combination of reasons, ESPN is reportedly losing 10,000 subscribers per day, and layoffs are looming for the Disney-owned media company.
Parenthetically, in a February column for The Ringer, Bill Simmons' new sports and pop culture website, Editor-at-Large Bryan Curtis conceded that contemporary sportswriting has morphed into a politically liberal profession "practiced by liberals who enforce an unapologetically liberal code."
Whitlock disagreed with the Sporting News interviewer that complaints about the Disney-owned ESPN's progressive slant came from the so-called alt-right media. "ESPN and most of the mainstream media have lurched farther left. That's a complaint from middle America and, in my opinion, objective America," he said.
ESPN recently released new guidelines for its employees about discussing politics on network platforms, which will probably result in more politics rather than less on the Worldwide Leader.
Commenting on the Twitter response to the recent demotion of Sage Steele, the ESPN/ABC NBA Countdown host, Whitlock asserted that "Twitter punishes any black person who doesn't spew far-left progressive dogma."
As far as the difference between ESPN and FS1 is concerned, Jason Whitlock explained that "ESPN caters to the elite, safe-space crowd. We cater to the people who love to tailgate and knock down a six-pack."
[Featured Image by John Amis/AP Images]