Please support MRC Culture today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)
A recent article by Joe Katzman illustrated the maturity level of modern politics, by explaining the true nature of the war raging between Donald Trump and the American media. And what it showed was that winning and losing in politics comes down to the same kind of insults that work on a fifth grade playground.
The article (from a political-right perspective) defines a core principle of politics: That status and identification are fundamental, and that reasoned arguments are to be assiduously avoided. But it goes on to explain the power of the news media:
Why do the media have power? Because they have social status with ordinary people… How many movies seem to exist just to show journalists as heroes? … What’s the attraction of such a low-paying profession? Status given by the profession, and status from rubbing shoulders with high-status people.
This is important. Fast and cheap status has been the road to serfdom since ancient Mesopotamia, and it’s still feeding upon human weaknesses… using the news media as a status provider.
What Donald Trump is doing, the article argues, is attacking the status of the news media. Katzman writes:
Trump also acts in ways that cause journalists to fulfill his pre-suasion labeling. He makes “outrageous” statements, which many people outside the Beltway Bubble agree with. Those statements receive over-the-top media attacks, which make his enemies look ridiculous. Then events swiftly show that Trump had a point. Trump rubs it in, using the media’s own “Fake News” term against them and pouncing on every sloppy and dishonest mistake.
Notice that from the standpoint of a fight on a 5th grade schoolyard, this is the perfect strategy. Notice also that it works brilliantly in politics, which functions, necessarily, at something like a 5th grade level.
And it’s not just Trump. The left used to employ a man named James Carville to make the same kinds of attacks on the right.
We may not like playground bullies at the highest levels of government, but this is what politics produces. Reason loses badly in almost any political fight. Base instincts are what win: Fear, status, tribal identification, and so on.
Last year I wrote this:
…if we’re very, very lucky, the [winner of the] Donny and Hillary circus may break the stasis of our time.
If Katzman is right, the news media may be shoved from their high-and-holy perch, which may help break our era’s frozen status quo. Let’s just hope that our current batch of young people can mature better than their forebears.
* * * * *
A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:
I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.
* * * * *
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned fake news as satanic, saying journalists and social media users should shun and unmask manipulative “snake tactics” that foment division to serve political and economic interests.
“Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, and leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred. That is the end result of untruth,” Francis said in the first document by a pope on the subject.
The document was issued after months of debate on how much fake news may have influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and the election of President Donald Trump.
“Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions, and serve economic interests,” the pope wrote, condemning the “manipulative use of social networks” and other forms of communication.
Called “The truth will set you free – fake news and journalism for peace”, the document was issued in advance of the Catholic Church’s World Day of Social Communications on May 13.
”This false but believable news is ‘captious’, inasmuch as it grasps people’s attention by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices and exploiting instantaneous
emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration,” Francis said.
False stories, the Pope said, spread so quickly that even authoritative denials often could not contain the damage done and many people run the risk of becoming “unwilling accomplices in spreading biased and baseless ideas”.
He called for “education for truth” that would help people discern, evaluate and understand news in order to recognize the “sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments”.
Francis compared the use of fake news to the Bible story of the devil, who, disguised as a serpent, persuaded Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. He said she was fed wrong information by Satan, who told her the fruit would make her and Adam as all-knowing as God.
“We need to unmask what could be called the ‘snake-tactics’ used by those (purveyors of fake news) who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place.”
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, a former reporter for U.S. outlets, told Reuters Television: “The Pope is not saying that all journalists are snakes but he is certainly acknowledging that they can be.”
The pope said the role of journalists was “not just a job, it is a mission” and they had particular responsibility to stem fake news.
“Amid feeding frenzies and the mad rush for a scoop, they must remember that the heart of information is not the speed with which it is reported or its audience impact, but persons.”
Francis said journalism should be “less concentrated on breaking news than on exploring the underlying causes of conflicts …a journalism committed to pointing out alternatives to the escalation of shouting matches and verbal violence.”
Reporting By Philip Pullella with additional reporting by Gabriele Pileri and Cristiano Corvino; editing by Mark Heinrich
Hacker group Fancy Bears has published emails purportedly showing how an International Olympic Committee (IOC) honorary member accused the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of an “anti-IOC and anti-Europe attitude.”
The material published by the hacking group allegedly shows an email sent by late IOC honorary member Hein Verbruggen in October 2016.
“The dramatic events of the last months in anti-doping have made us all think about WADA’s role and responsibilities. I think we have suddenly all realized that this organisation has in fact during 17 years been in the hands of four people: Mr Pound, Mr Howman, Mr Reedie and Mr Niggli,” Verbruggen, who died in June last year, allegedly wrote.
The names he is referring to are Dick Pound (the first WADA president), David Howman (former WADA director general), Craig Reedie (current WADA president), and Olivier Niggli (current WADA director general).
Verbruggen was a Dutch sports administrator and was president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) from 1991 until 2005, and president of SportAccord from 2004 to 2013.
“I left out Mr Fahey who unexpectedly was put into the WADA chair without having any experience in anti-doping (which was perhaps convenient for those who wanted to retain the power but definitely not good for WADA). With all respect for President Reedie, I think nobody familiar with WADA will contest that Mr Pound still has a dominant position within that organization.”
Verbruggen also accuses the organization of biased politics against European countries and the Olympic movement.
“The current WADA has to a large extent failed to be a viable and universally trusted and respected anti-doping organization, because – as well as for genuine anti-doping – it has from the beginning (17 years ago) also been used for politics. We all know – but we usually do not dare to say – that there exists a sound anti-IOC and anti-Europe attitude at the level of the WADA leadership. This WADA leadership (appointed by the IOC, which is the cynical part of the story) usually teams up with a small group of (mainly) Anglo-Saxon NADO’s (USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and Norway/Scandinavia on the sideline) and this has created a division that has allowed the same people to stay at the helm for a way too long period. This ‘coalition’ can also be seen from the composition of the WADA committees (including panels and expert groups) as published on WADA’s website.”
He then backs up his position by stressing that nine of 11 WADA committees are chaired by people from Anglo-Saxon countries, and that 66 out of the total 112 members come from Anglo-Saxon countries and Scandinavia. He notes that members from Canada and the US are abundant.
“WADA has also become a platform for IOC critics to assemble. Obviously all this has had its negative impact on the fight against doping with the current catastrophic situation of WADA as a Consequence,” he continues.
“We have to face up to the inconvenient fact that many within the Olympic Movement are afraid of criticism by WADA and Mr Pound in the sensitive and mediatic field of anti-doping. This fear explains in my view why Mr Pound and friends do not seem to worry about not being nominated anymore and why they have been able to maintain their WADA positions for 17 years, as if there were no other competent people and good governance would not recommend a change from time to time.”
He also uses the example of WADA’s public call, back in 2016 to the IOC, to impose “a last-minute ban” on the Russian team from the Summer Olympics in Brazil to illustrate his words.
“Whereas it was precisely WADA that largely contributed to this very problematic situation by not following up promptly and adequately the information it had received since 2010.”
Earlier this month, Fancy Bears released IOC correspondence appearing to indicate Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren was given a “clear political order” to file a report that resulted in Russia’s expulsion from Olympic competition.
As news broke that regulators would skupper Rick Perry’s plan for a coal bail out, I was yet again struck by the fact that UK Conservatives are trying hard to present themselves as a pro-active force for environmental sustainability. As reported over at Business Green, Prime Minister Theresa May is planning a major speech on the environment this Thursday, highlights of which are likely to include:
—A confirmed commitment to taxing single-use plastics, something which had been hinted at before.
—Planting of 50 million trees along a 120 mile corridor between Liverpool and Leeds.
—A U-turn on campaign promises for a “free vote” for repealing the fox hunting ban.
Let’s be clear, none of these measures by themselves are groundbreaking. And they are nowhere near what is needed to address the major crisis that our confluence of environmental challenges represents.
But coming on the heels of promises of ambitious, sustainability-focused agricultural subsidy reform and a major investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, they are one more sign that UK Conservatives now understand what all sensible politicians should know: Pro-environmental positions offer a rare opportunity to inspire and unite people in a world that’s all too often depressing and divisive.
And I do believe that’s true, even among conservatives here in the US.
The problem we face here in the United States is not conservatives in general being opposed to clean energy. Rather, we face the challenge of extremist, climate skeptic elements of the base using climate change and renewables subsidies as a proxy war for broader cultural themes. And more moderate conservatives not necessarily seeing climate or the environment as a priority for action. But until recently, the UK Conservative party faced those elements and those calculations too too. Something there has shifted: And that something is the recognition that young people—already reeling from the shock of Brexit—happen to want politicians who will safeguard their future.
It might seem like a long way away right now, but that tide can shift in the US too. Indeed as clean energy becomes more commonplace and more affordable, and as smarter, more livable cities become the norm, not the exception, we will reach a tipping point where standing against progress will appear as dumb and as short-sighted to conservative politicians as most of us already know it is.
I, for one, can’t wait. I’m going to do what I can to make it happen. And then, when it does, we will need to keep pushing to make sure that the momentum keeps building.
December 31, 2017 @ 2:44 am
God bless you, dear +BN and Merry CHRISTmas.
This is a very powerful Article. A masterpiece.
That’s also a great find from Orwell.
I always enjoy your montages, sometimes even more than Videos, because they express layered meanings like the compressed “grammar” of the symbolic language of Holy Icons that the motion of film/video just can’t capture.
Same with other great works of still art.
Or like that epic scene from Ben Hur, it was that pug Centurion’s momentary stillness, his arrested movements while gazing and re-gazing at Jesus that’s so cinematically powerful.
Jews and their history of strategies applying power politics and leveraging influence throughout the centuries complicit with ruling elites is nothing new.
Keep naming the Jew. It’s just that simple, but not so easy to do.
I came across this the other day written by the very Western Orthodox anti-Judaist St. Agobard of Lyon (c. 779–840) a Spanish-born priest and archbishop of Lyon, during the Carolingian Renaissance, who openly spoke against the Judaization of Christian society and deferential treatment given to the Jews of Lyon.
The Jews of Lyon were the main slave traffickers and middlemen in the European slave trade in the Frankish markets, selling pagan and Christian European children and adults to the Arab Muslim world channeled through Muslim Spain. The slave trade was vital to the economy of Charlemagne’s Frankish Empire.
And, if anyone ever wonders how Ashkenazi Jews picked up so many European features such as fair skin, blue eyes, blond or reddish hair, Jews practiced polygamy and kept slave-concubines, the children belonged to the patriarch of the family as legal children under rabbinic law.
Polygamy was rabbinically outlawed in the Rhinelands about AD 1000 during the Ottonian era of the Roman Empire of Germania, and eventually as the Ashkenazi Jews migrated east into Eastern Europe, they took the prohibition with them where ever they settled under Christian law.
In the Muslim territories, however, such as Spain and parts of Italy, and later into the Seljuk and Ottoman parts of Europe in the Balkans, Islamic law permitted Jews to marry up to four wives, and maintain as many slave-concubines as they could afford.
Anyway, St. Agobard exposes and criticizes the symbiotic relationship between the Jews, King Louis the Pious and the corrupt nobility and elites who ganged up with with the culture-destroying Jews to oppress, abuse and exploit Christians.
The author of multiple treatises, St. Agobard is best known for his critiques of Jewish religious practices and political power in the Frankish realm.
Agobard of Lyon: On the Insolence of the Jews To Louis the Pious
Introduction: Paul Halsall
Written in 826/27 directly to Emperor Louis the Pious, Agobard’s treatise “On the insolence of the Jews” is in large measure an exposé of what he perceived to be the arrogant and fundamentally impious actions of the imperial missi and Evrard, master of the Jews, towards the Christian community of Lyon and their un-Christian support and encouragement of the Jewish population in Lyon.
In other words, it is a letter of protest against a Jewish policy under Louis that was fundamentally favorable to this religious minority.
To argue against such a policy, Agobard claims to make known the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which the Jews were working against the Christian community, whether it was in selling Christians into slavery, cursing Christians and Christ (i.e. blasphemy), or forcing their domestic servants to adhere to the rhythms of Jewish life.
His solution to many of these problems was an enforced stricter segregation of members of the two faiths from one another in all aspects of life.
As with Agobard’s other responses to the status and power of the Jews in Lyon, this work reveals a Jewish community that was not only fully integrated into the lives of members of the Christian community but also one that could claim a considerable amount of cultural and political prestige, a prestige that Agobard feared would make Judaism seem attractive in the eyes of his Christian congregation.
To his most Christian, truly pious, and always august emperor Louis, the most fortunate triumphal victor in Christ, Agobard, the most downcast of all your servants.
When omnipotent God – Who knew before time itself and foreordained that you would be a pious rector in these truly demanding times – raised your prudence and zealous religion over the other mortals of your time, there is no doubt but that you were prepared as a remedy for the dangerous times about which the Apostle speaks:
In the last days the dangerous times shall begin, and there shall be men who love themselves, greedy, puffed up, etc.[II Timothy 3:1-2] and who, although they have the appearance of piety, nullify its strength.[II Timothy 3:5]
From times such as these nothing more should be expected than what is already seen, except for the release of Satan and the public trampling of the holy City for the forty-two months, which shall occur through the head of all the iniquitous, Antichrist.[cf. Apocalypse 11:2]
Therefore since this is the way things are, I beseech your most tranquil long-sufferingness that you lend your most patient ear to the words with which I, the least of your servants, consider it most necessary to admonish your most holy solicitude concerning such a vital matter, a matter which is either uniquely or especially one to which your governance more than all others should bring aid.
If I could pursue my account of the matter while passing over in silence the names of the responsible parties, I would gladly do so. But because it cannot be done, I commit myself to your goodness and patience as I surrender myself to the dangers and inform you of what is ruinous to pass over in silence.
There came Gerric and Frederick who were preceded by Evrard, your agents (missi) in fact yet not doing your will completely but rather acting on behalf of another. They showed themselves to be terrible to the Christians and mild to the Jews, especially in Lyon, where they set up a persecuting faction (pars persecutionis) against the Church and they goaded the church to many groans, sighs, and tears.
 Evrard held the office of magister Iudeorum under Louis the Pious. It is not known whether he himself was a Jew….
Because this persecution was directly principally against me, I should not recount the whole, unless perchance your most clement concern should wish to know. But if your kindness allows, I shall begin to intimate it briefly, insofar as it was injurious to the Church of Christ.
When the Jews first arrived, they gave me a message in your name and another one to the man who rules the district of Lyon in place of the count; [this message] ordered him to offer aid to the Jews against me. We absolutely did not believe that such messages as these issued from your judgment, although they were read out in your sacred name and sealed with your ring.
The Jews began to rage with a certain odious insolence, threatening that we would be afflicted with every sort of injury by the agents whom they had obtained to take vengeance upon Christians. After them, Evrard arrived and repeated the same thing and said that your majesty was truly angry with me because of the Jews.
Then the aforementioned agents arrived, holding in their hands a tax code(?) (stipendialis tractoria) and a capitulary of sanctions which we do not believe exists by your command.
For these reasons, the Jews were made joyful beyond measure and the Christians saddened – and not only those who fled or hid or were detained, but the rest as well who saw or heard. In particular, it was because the Jews’ opinion received such confirmation that they irreverently began to preach to the Christians what they ought to believe and hold, openly blaspheming the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
This perversity was strengthened by the words of your agents who whispered in the ears of certain people that the Jews are not abominable, as many think, but are held dear in your eyes and because some of their people were saying that they are considered better than Christians.
I, your unworthy servant, was not in fact in Lyon [at the time] but was far away on the case of the monks of Nantuadensium, who were fighting among themselves because of a certain rivalry. Nonetheless I sent our agents with a short letter to those men [saying] that they should command whatever they wanted and we would obey what they had enjoined. But we received no indulgence from them.
Consequently, certain of our priests whom they threatened by name, did not dare to show their faces.
We suffered these things from the Jews’ supporters and for no other reason but that we preached to Christians that they should not sell Christian slaves to them; that they should not allow these Jews to sell Christians to [then Muslim Arab-Kj] Spain nor to possess them as paid domestics lest Christian women celebrate the Sabbath with them, work on Sundays, eat with them during Lent, and their paid servants eat meat on these days; and that no Christian should buy meats sacrificed and butchered by Jews and sell them to other Christians; and that they should not drink their wine or other things like this.
For it is the practice of the Jews that when they slaughter an animal to eat and kill it using three cuts so that it is not strangled, if the liver appears to be damaged when the entrails are opened, or if a lung clings to the side or breath inflates it, or bile is not found, and other things like this, the meat is considered to be unclean by the Jews and sold to the Christians and these meats are called by the insulting expression “Christian beasts” (christiana pecora).
With regard to the blood which the Jews both consider to be unclean and do not use except to sell it to Christians, if it should happen to flow into the earth anywhere, even into a filthy place, they swiftly draw it out of the ground and put it in a vessel to preserve. And as for how they do other things worthy of reproach concerning the blood, there are not only many Christian witnesses but also many Jews.
[Blood “puddings” or sausages was ubiquitous throughout Europe and elsewhere as a poverty and survival food for protein-starved peasants, serfs, and commoners, who were left with the offal from a slaughtered animal after the choice parts were taken by the elites and Jews].
That the Jews daily curse Jesus Christ and the Christians in all their prayers under the name “Nazarenes” not only the blessed Jerome attests, who writes that he knew them intimately and was inside their skin, but many of the Jews also bear witness to this.
 Jerome, In Amos I.1.12; Jerome, Epistula 129.4.
On this matter, for the sake of example, I spoke to the Christians in this way:
If there is a man who is faithful and a lover of his elder and lord and he senses that someone is his lord’s enemy, detractor, reviler, and a threat to him, he does not wish to be this man’s friend, table companion, or sharer in his food. But if he should be [this man’s friend, etc.] and his elder and lord learns this, [the lord] would judge that the man was not faithful to him.
And therefore, since we know that the Jews are blasphemers and men who curse, so to speak, the Lord God Christ and his Christians, we should not be joined to them through the sharing of food or drink in accordance with the rule (modus) that was given long ago and commanded by the holy fathers in their words and examples.
For the rest, because they live among us and we should not be wicked to them nor act contrary to their life, health, or wealth, let us observe the rule (modus) that has been ordained by the Church. The way in which we should be cautious or human towards them, is not at all obscure but has been clearly expounded.
Most pious lord, I have mentioned only a few out of the many things concerning the faithlessness of the Jews, our admonition, and the wounding of Christianity that is occurring through the supporters of the Jews, since I do not know whether [this news] can even come to your attention.
Nonetheless, it is absolutely necessary that your pious solicitude know how the Christian faith is being harmed by the Jews in certain ways.
Dear +BN, by your determined faith, courage and persistence in sounding the alarm about the Jewish spirit and criminality all these years, you stand on the shoulders of champions of faith such as St. Agobard in your defense of Christ, the Church, and your efforts to wake up people everywhere and alert them to the ancient Jewish peril.
Source Article from http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=1260
I fell sound asleep for about ten minutes during the most recent installment in the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi. This was not only because the narrative had wandered down a very tedious alleyway, but because Star Wars in general has lost its way. What began as a thrilling exploration of the philosophia perennis has devolved into a vehicle for the latest trendy ideology-and that is really a shame.
Like so many others in my generation (I was seventeen when the first film in the series came out), I was captivated by George Lucas’ vision. We all loved the explosions, the spaceships, and the special effects (corny now, but groundbreaking at the time), but we also sensed that there was something else going on in these films, something that excited the soul as much as it dazzled the eyes.
Lucas was a devotee of Joseph Campbell, a scholar of comparative religion and mythology at Sarah Lawrence College, who had spent his career exploring what he called “the monomyth.” This is the great story which, despite all sorts of different accents and emphases from culture to culture, remains fundamentally the same and which conveys some pretty basic truths about nature, the psyche, human development, and God. It customarily unfolds as a “hero’s quest.” A young man (typically) is summoned out of the comfort of his domestic life and compelled to go on a dangerous adventure, either to secure a prize or protect the innocent, or subdue the forces of nature. In the process, he comes to realize and conquer his weakness, to face down enemies, and finally to commune with the deep spiritual powers that are at play in the cosmos. Usually, as a preparation for his mission, he is trained by a spiritual master who will put him quite vigorously through his paces. Campbell was particularly intrigued by the manner in which this story is concretely acted out in the initiation rituals among primal peoples. Lucas’ mentor was Campbell, and Campbell’s teacher was the great Swiss psychologist, C.G. Jung, who had spent his career exploring the archetypes of the collective unconscious that play themselves out in our dreams and our myths.
Now one would have to be blind not to see these motifs in the original Star Wars films. Luke Skywalker is compelled to leave his mundane home life (remember Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru?), and under the tutelage of Obi-Wan and Yoda, he overcomes his fears, discovers his inner strength, faces down the darkness, and learns to act in communion with the Force. Attentive Star Wars fans will notice, by the way, that Yoda pronounces a number of the well-known sayings of C.G. Jung. I referenced the philosophia perennis (the perennial philosophy) above. This is a standard set of philosophical and psychological insights shared by most of the great spiritual traditions of the world, and it provided the inspiration for Jung, Campbell, Lucas and hence the Star Wars films.
Certain elements of all of this remain, of course, in the most recent episodes, but the mythic and archetypal dimensions are all but overwhelmed by an aggressively feminist ideology. The overriding preoccupation of the makers of the most recent Star Wars seems to be, not the hero’s spiritual journey, but the elevation of the all-conquering female. Every male character in The Last Jedi is either bumbling, incompetent, arrogant, or morally compromised; and every female character is wise, good, prudent, and courageous.
Even Luke has become embittered and afraid, bearing the stigma of a profound moral failure. The female figures in The Last Jedi typically correct, demote, control, and roll their eyes at the males, who stumble about when not provided with feminine instruction. I laughed out loud when Rey, the young woman who has come to Luke for instruction in the ways of the Jedi, shows herself already in full possession of spiritual power. No Yoda or Obi-Wan required, thank you very much. The movie ends (spoiler alert) with all of the men off the stage and Leia taking the hand of Rey and saying, “We have all we need.”
Comment: A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.
Contrast this overbearing and ham-handed treatment of men and women with the far subtler handling of the same motif in the earlier Star Wars films. In accord with Jungian instincts, the twins Luke and Leia-both smart, strong, and spiritually alert-represented the play of animus and anima, the masculine and feminine energies, within every person. And the relationship between Leia and Han Solo was such a delight, precisely because they were evenly matched. Leia didn’t have to dominate Han in order to find her identity; quite the contrary, she became more fully herself as he pushed back against her. Whereas a sort of zero-sum game obtains in the present ideology-the male has to be put down in order for the female to rise-nothing of the kind existed in the wonderfully Tracy and Hepburn rapport between Leia and Han.
Now don’t get me wrong: I fully understand why, in our cultural context today, women are feeling the need to assert themselves and to put powerful men in their place. I even see why a certain exaggeration is inevitable. It’s just disappointing that this concern has hijacked a film series that used to trade in more abiding truths.
Comment: And that’s the problem. It’s the Arab and the Camel, once you let the nose in, you’re lost. #MeToo is just the big lie of feminism, so accepting it means you’ll accept anything they demand as compensation.
ESPN wants its reporters out of the political commentary business.
Speaking at “The Talent Gathering ’17,” a meeting of the 450 “forward facing” or on-air employees, executives of the sports network announced a new social media policy that seems designed to respond to viewer complaints and the sharp drop in viewership that has accompanied the network’s entrees into liberal political commentary.
“ESPN is a journalistic organization – not a political organization,” Kevin Merida, a former managing editor of The Washington Post and now a senior vice president and editor in chief of “The Undefeated,” an ESPN online offering, said as he introduced the new policy. “We should do nothing to undermine that position.”
Basically, the policy is to avoid commenting on social media on any topic related to politics, although officials made clear that if a politician wades into sports, employees are free to comment on that.
“ESPN’s focus is sports,” Merida said. “By and large, we are not experts on politics, healthcare policies, terrorism, commerce – that’s not what we do. Our audience is not looking for our opinions on the general news of the day. And believe me, I get it. It can sometimes be difficult to control impulses or ignore trolls, but that’s what we’re called to do for each other.”
Merida pointed to a clause in the social media policy where management reserved the right to take action if staffers violated it.
He said he had “spoken to on-air staffers who are active on Twitter” – including Pablo Torre, Sarah Spain and Scott Van Pelt, who moderated the event – to get feedback on their social media experiences as part of the process of revising the policy. In introducing Merida, Van Pelt had pointed to the fruitlessness of engaging trolls on the Internet.
The new policy was developed in response to a series of events in which ESPN personalities have taken to Twitter to criticize President Trump. Jemele Hill, who appears on one of the SportsCenter broadcasts, was suspended twice in a six-week span – once for calling President Trump a white supremacist in the wake of the Charlottesville riots and once for calling for a boycott of advertisers who support the Dallas Cowboys after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he would bench any players who “disrespect the flag” during the playing of the national anthem before games.
Asked in the question-and-answer session about the sexual harassment policy, John Skipper, president of the network, said ESPN has a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment and does not to his knowledge have a major problem with sexual harassment but that employees should contact him directly if problems arise.
The first hour of the meeting was devoted to countering the notion that the social media policy and other apparent leftist political bias by the network was contributing to a decline in viewership and the financial future of the company is strong.
“At the end of the meeting, I want you to be confident about the future of ESPN. I want you to feel proud about working here, and I want you to feel that your best efforts are needed for that future and to feel that pride,” Skipper said.
Skipper said the network plans to purchase even more rights to liver sporting events, maximize distribution through traditional channels – which should involve improving relations with cable distributors – launching a direct-to-consumer service and “continuing the company’s focus on the breadth and depth of storytelling and strong journalism.”
“I want to lead an ESPN that strives purposely and confidently into a new world which is not scary but exciting.”
Connor Schell, the network’s executive vice president for content, then revealed that ESPN had produced 65,000 hours of live programming this year, covered 16,000 events, produced 98,000 digital videos, written 105,000 articles of various descriptions, posted on social media 2.6 million times and created 20,000 hours of original audio programming.
“Between live studio content and live events, we are producing 7 ½ hours of live programming for every hour in a day,” he said.
sample for adding full image
Source Article from http://www.aim.org/aim-column/espn-trying-to-get-out-of-politics/