Longtime ESPN anchor Linda Cohn argued that her network’s alleged liberal bent scared off some of its viewers and subscribers, leading to this week’s “bloodbath” in Bristol.
During a radio interview on 77 WABC Thursday, Cohn addressed the mass layoffs at her network, which saw over 100 on-air talent get the pink slip this week — including a former co-anchor of Cohn’s. The sportscaster candidly blamed the firings on “bad decision making” by ESPN executives.
Talking head Bernard McGuirk, one of the hosts of “The Bernie and Sid Show,” asked Cohn if the “whole Kaepernick thing,” and Caitlyn Jenner winning an award at the ESPYs, perhaps explained the network’s dwindling audience.
“There seems to be a lot of folks that have distaste for the way ESPN goes about some of their programming, and some of their promotions, when socially folks don’t accept these things,” McGuirk said.
“That is definitely a percentage of it,” Cohn immediately agreed, according to the New York Post. “I don’t know how big a percentage, but if anyone wants to ignore that fact, they’re blind,” she said.
For years, conservative sports fans have complained that their favorite network incessantly pushes a liberal agenda in its programming. Right-wing political commentators have written columns upon columns about how the “arrogant thinking of liberal sports writers” and ESPN’s “obsession with politics” were the main reasons the network was losing viewers and, hence, the culture war.
It’s true that ESPN has dedicated time and resources into crafting a diverse voice. For example, the media outlet recently added a new micro website, the Undefeated, which is devoted to black athletes and causes.
This past election cycle, Donald Trump’s rise in the political arena fueled intrigue in the sports world, causing the two communities to collide — much to the disappointment of conservatives.
Yet for all of the ESPN political hand-wringing conservatives have complained of over the years, there was always a Tim Tebow that ESPN idolized and peddled to its Christian viewers.