Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Who Controls ESPN ?

 

The GM of the NBA’s Houston Rockets has stepped down. My indifference to that news item is boundless. However, a family member who still reads ESPN.com (I canceled my membership to Insider and have not followed nor watched any pro sports since the Redskins became the Washington Football Team) brought to my attention the fact that the article discussing Daryl Morey’s departure made no mention of the controversy last year in which he tweeted support for Hong Kong freedom demonstrations and later deleted the tweet under pressure.

Apparently, Disney subsidiary ESPN cannot be allowed to jeopardize the global distribution revenues of Disney content especially that of Disney subsidiary Marvel nor the revenues of the NBA by even the mere mention of the fact that there had ever been a single tweet by an NBA employee containing criticism of Chinese government repression.

More than just a matter of financial influence, China’s model of media uniformity is taking hold.

In (the increasingly less fictional) novel 1984, Winston Smith worked in the Records Department where a small army of clerks called up and edited past newspaper articles and all other records that expressly or even implicitly contradicted the current position of the Party and then edited or deleted them. Winston was a member of the Outer Party comprised of the more educated citizens who have no policy-making authority but carry out the directives of the Party, particularly with respect to controlling and filtering all forms of communications with the population as a whole. Our schools now train our best and brightest to join the Outer Party. It is not so much that the young are taught to favor socialism and hate America but that they learn that Oldthink is Crimethink and that conformity is the highest good, the lesson that independent thought invariably leads to hate-crime.

The enormous new Outer Party works at Twitter, Google, Facebook, CNN, MSNC, NYT, WaPo, and even ESPN. They occupy HR departments, universities, and government agencies at every level. They might as well wear uniforms as did Winston.

An earlier generation of American journalists, reporters, and editors saw themselves as a check on falsehood and an antidote to lies and abuses of power. Their allegiance was to the reader. Now they all owe their allegiance to the Party (now much more than just a mere political entity dealing with archaic concerns like elections and patronage) and they assiduously consult the current hive thoughts as they appear in approved media conduits even parroting the phrases and buzzwords of the approved responses.

The concerted effort of the Outer Party to oust Trump by means of sustained demonization while strenuously (and largely successfully) concealing the obvious shortcomings of the malignant buffoon nominated to oppose him has been an Orwellian extravaganza. How does that end? Will we too discover that we love Big Brother? Certainly, the Outer Party is ready to do so.

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  1. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    And yet, news of China’s less savoury activities still manages to get out into the wider world. It’s almost as if a cable sports network doesn’t have all that much power to control the zeitgeist.

    • #1
    • October 16, 2020, at 10:18 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    The Mouse controls ESPN and he doesn’t like anyone messing with his business. This profanity-laced South Park clip explains it. It is vulgar, but the funniest thing I have ever seen.

    • #2
    • October 16, 2020, at 10:30 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. PHenry Member

    Old Bathos: have not followed nor watched any pro sports since the Redskins became the Washington Football Team

    Same here, not one play. Been discovering college football a bit, but sports just dropped right off my priority list.

    Old Bathos: In (the increasingly less fictitonal) novel 1984

    I’ve seen a shirt on sale ‘Make Orwell Fiction Again’.

    You have to wonder if the extreme irony of seeing so much of that novel become reality doesn’t give the left pause, but instead they seem to be treating it as their latest playbook.

    • #3
    • October 16, 2020, at 11:56 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor

    I sometimes feel as if I’m dreaming, and I will wake up to realize that it was a nightmare. Except that it’s real life and we are all trying to maintain our sanity as we trudge through it.

    • #4
    • October 16, 2020, at 12:21 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    And yet, news of China’s less savoury activities still manages to get out into the wider world. It’s almost as if a cable sports network doesn’t have all that much power to control the zeitgeist.

    How’s NBA viewership doing? 

    • #5
    • October 16, 2020, at 2:38 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Randy Webster Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I sometimes feel as if I’m dreaming, and I will wake up to realize that it was a nightmare. Except that it’s real life and we are all trying to maintain our sanity as we trudge through it.

    I’m not trudging. I’m enjoying my ride.

    • #6
    • October 16, 2020, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. The Reticulator Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    And yet, news of China’s less savoury activities still manages to get out into the wider world. It’s almost as if a cable sports network doesn’t have all that much power to control the zeitgeist.

     Yet, it’s still worthwhile to marginalize those who think unapproved thoughts. 

    • #7
    • October 16, 2020, at 3:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Jon1979 Lincoln

    It was interesting that China finally allowed the NBA back on its state-owned airwaves this week, for the last game of the Finals, and two days later Daryl Morey is gone as general manager of the Rockets. Could simply be coincidence — Houston’s been treading water in the playoff race the past few years — but after the firestorm the Chinese leadership created over Morey’s tweet last year and the threat to the NBA it created for all of that potential Chinese income, the timing of the two events does make it possible there’s a quid pro quo here.

    (Also of interest moving forward will be the reaction of American sports fans if it becomes undeniably obvious the NBA cares and caters to the Chinese market more than to the U.S. one, and the league’s main broadcast partner does the same thing — i.e., both the NBA and Disney decide there’s more $$$ to make from pandering to China than whatever they might lose in the American market from continued plunging ratings. That could mean things like ‘Black Lives Matter’ is taken off the actual basketball courts, but the league continues to support a woke double-standard, where players and coaches freely criticize U.S. society and even they very fans they’re trying to get to buy tickets and watch games, but go back into total radio silence on any violations in Hong Kong, with the Uyghurs, or anyplace else in China by Xi’s government.

    How low would the league let the ratings go to make the Chinese leadership happy, and when the U.S. TV contracts expire in 2024, would Disney be willing to give the NBA another hugely overpriced contract, not based on TV ratings, but on the league going along and helping Disney get back into the good graces of Xi and his crew, if Bob Iger thought they could make more money in China than whatever they’d lose with another bad 10-year pro basketball contract?)

    • #8
    • October 16, 2020, at 4:21 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    If abortion is the sacrament of the “Social Left”, then the “Chinese Market” is the sacrament of the Commercial Left. No company wishes to sacrifice one dollar earned in the humongous Chinese Market, regardless of the fact that China is a Communist Country. The Chinese are more important than the Americans to many companies these days, and there is relatively little pushback. This is unfortunate, and there have been stories of Americans working in various industries inside China who have been expelled from the country for various infractions.

    • #9
    • October 16, 2020, at 4:52 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  10. The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    And yet, news of China’s less savoury activities still manages to get out into the wider world. It’s almost as if a cable sports network doesn’t have all that much power to control the zeitgeist.

    Yet, it’s still worthwhile to marginalize those who think unapproved thoughts.

    I’ll explain better. If you have the tyrant mentality (I learned this from watching the Clintons) it’s one thing to control information and keep people from knowing about the scandals. But it’s even better to get people to participate in your lying and pretend not to know about the scandals that they know about. In the former case all you’ve done is keep people ignorant. Ignorance can be overcome. But if you can corrupt people, that’s a lot harder for them to overcome.

    • #10
    • October 16, 2020, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Barfly Member

    Old Bathos: More than just a matter of financial influence, China’s model of media uniformity is taking hold. 

    That’s because the same kind of people fill the ranks of both the CCP and American media.

    • #11
    • October 16, 2020, at 6:48 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. David Foster Member
    David FosterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Chinese regime apparently has considerable influence on the content of US movies…the Chinese market is just too large to risk being locked out of. In the 1930s, the Nazis also tried exerting pressure on Hollywood..there was a German Consul who had this as one of his primary responsibilities…with some success.

    The Nazi government was especially upset about the American 1937 film ‘The Road Back’, which was based on Erich Maria Remarque’s great but neglected novel, and demanded major changes, on pain of boycotting all of the studio’s films….and future films involving any member of the cast, down to the hairdressers and boom operators—they sent letters to each of the cast members with this threat.

    And apparently the producers did make changes to the film, weakening what should have been a great movie.

    But the German market was not nearly as important as today’s Chinese market is now, so the temptation to cave in is now much stronger.

    See my post So, really want to talk about foreign influence?

     

    • #12
    • October 16, 2020, at 7:05 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  13. The Reticulator Member

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The Chinese regime apparently has considerable influence on the content of US movies…the Chinese market is just too large to risk being locked out of. In the 1930s, the Nazis also tried exerting pressure on Hollywood..there was a German Consul who had this as one of his primary responsibilities…with some success.

    The Nazi government was especially upset about the American 1937 film ‘The Road Back’, which was based on Erich Maria Remarque’s great but neglected novel, and demanded major changes, on pain of boycotting all of the studio’s films….and future films involving any member of the cast, down to the hairdressers and boom operators—they sent letters to each of the cast members with this threat.

    And apparently the producers did make changes to the film, weakening what should have been a great movie.

    But the German market was not nearly as important as today’s Chinese market is now, so the temptation to cave in is now much stronger.

    See my post So, really want to talk about foreign influence?

     

    Maybe someone could make a movie about movie producers and executives of hotel chains who preach truth, tolerance and liberalism, but succumb to foreign pressure to boycott their businesses. There could be a tragic hero who opposes their decisions but loses his job and career as a result. Despite his poverty, he finds time to work for the Trump campaign.

    • #13
    • October 16, 2020, at 8:01 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. thelonious Member

    Daryl Morey was always a basketball outsider. He’s not an ex player or had any previous NBA experience. He’s an egg head revolutionary mathamagician geek from an Ivy league school. He probably did more to change the game (I’d say for the worse) based on his philosophy of spreading the floor, endlessly running pick and rolls with James Harden and jacking up as many 3’s as possible. His teams were often the best in the NBA but never got over the hump of making the finals. The Rockets new owner never bought into Moreys’ philosophy and is allegedly cash poor at the moment due to his many holdings in casinos and restaurants and was unwilling to pay Morey who is one of the higher paid GM’s. His comments on Hong Kong probably didn’t help but he’d probably still have a gig if they won more this year.

    • #14
    • October 17, 2020, at 10:59 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    And yet, news of China’s less savoury activities still manages to get out into the wider world. It’s almost as if a cable sports network doesn’t have all that much power to control the zeitgeist.

    How’s NBA viewership doing?

    In the toilet.

    • #15
    • October 17, 2020, at 11:01 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western ChauvinistJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    PHenry (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: have not followed nor watched any pro sports since the Redskins became the Washington Football Team

    Same here, not one play. Been discovering college football a bit, but sports just dropped right off my priority list.

    Old Bathos: In (the increasingly less fictitonal) novel 1984

    I’ve seen a shirt on sale ‘Make Orwell Fiction Again’.

    You have to wonder if the extreme irony of seeing so much of that novel become reality doesn’t give the left pause, but instead they seem to be treating it as their latest playbook.

    One can never accuse the Left of self-awareness. Or even much self-reflection. Why bother when you’re so full of yummy goodness and virtue?

    • #16
    • October 17, 2020, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHillJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There is a weird dichotomy in the idea of “sports journalism.” Under no other form of journalism does one purchase access to cover your beat. Under no other form of journalism do your competitors abstain from reporting on events because they respect your right to exclusivity.

    I’ve worked for both national and local rights holders. The team or league is not your beat, they are your business partners. How much you are willing to swim against their tide is dependent on how much you are willing to damage that partnership. Will my actions today imperil the renewal of that coverage agreement? Nobody says, “Well, if I bash Trump at ABC we might lose access to the White House.” But they will say, “If we want the NBA for the next 10 years we better please Adam Silver.” 

    • #17
    • October 17, 2020, at 12:25 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Jon1979 Lincoln

    EJHill (View Comment):

    There is a weird dichotomy in the idea of “sports journalism.” Under no other form of journalism does one purchase access to cover your beat. Under no other form of journalism do your competitors abstain from reporting on events because they respect your right to exclusivity.

    I’ve worked for both national and local rights holders. The team or league is not your beat, they are your business partners. How much you are willing to swim against their tide is dependent on how much you are willing to damage that partnership. Will my actions today imperil the renewal of that coverage agreement? Nobody says, “Well, if I bash Trump at ABC we might lose access to the White House.” But they will say, “If we want the NBA for the next 10 years we better please Adam Silver.”

    ESPN’s final 3-4 years under John Skipper were interesting in that regard, because he really did seem to think the network didn’t need the NFL any longer, and supposedly was recommending not re-upping on the Monday Night Football contract when it expires in 2021. That feeling that the NBA would eclipse the NFL as the No. 1 sport among TV viewers led the network to do a lot of coverage of things like the CTE/concussion connections, which led the league to make a settlement with former players (one that ESPN’s people blasted as not a good deal for the players), along with stories about violent players in the wake of the Ray Rice incident.

    There hasn’t been anywhere near as much of that type of reporting since Skipper left at the end of 2017, as jimmy Pitaro tried to mend fences with the NFL and Disney wanted to maintain its MNF ties and get into the Super Bowl rotation with the other broadcast partners (the problem wasn’t so much ESPN under Skipper covering those stories, or MLB’s problems; it was they treated the NBA’s problems kind of like most of the Washington-NY media treat Joe Biden’s problems).

    • #18
    • October 17, 2020, at 5:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.