Former ESPN employee Jason Whitlock told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that while a drop in cable subscribers, “cord-cutting,” has been to blame for heavy losses in viewership for ESPN, he acknowledge that a left-ward drift by the sports network was also to blame. ESPN has lost more than 11 million subscribers in the past five years, according to Nielsen ratings.
Whitlock, who is employed by Fox, was asked by Carlson on Thursday whether ESPN has become too focused on politics. “I think you’ve asked the right question,” Whitlock answered. “I think cord-cutting has a lot to do with their subscriber and the viewership loss. But the animosity and some of the viewership loss, I do think is a direct result of their lurch to the left (politically), and injecting progressive victimology into the sports conversation.”
Whitlock said, “If you really understand sports culture, and all the values taught in sports, from Little League, Pee Wee, on, you’re never a victim. There are never any excuses that are accepted. Every coach teaches every play from 5 years old on to 45 years old, we don’t tolerate excuses, we don’t tolerate victimology, and now so much of the conversation by the sports media, ESPN being the leader of this, is just filled with so-and-so is a victim, Colin Kaepernick’s a victim, everybody’s a victim. It’s turning traditional sports fans off.”
Whitlock said he feels that there is a change afoot in sports. “I think, again, so much of the media has moved left,” Whitlock said. “It applies to ESPN, but it also applies to all the media. Silicon Valley, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram is now in control of the mainstream media. Everyone is catering all of their content to Silicon Valley and San Francisco values.” He added, “That’s far different than the old media which catered everything to New York traditional liberal values. The values in San Francisco, a bit more revolutionary, a bit more progressive, than a traditional New York-based media.”