Anxious to discuss President Trump’s tweet against ESPN (and host Jamele Hill’s comments), CNN set female anchor Brooke Baldwin on the task to get to the bottom of whether Hill did anything worth being fired for or if evil President Trump was trying to crush her First Amendment rights.
The interview started to go pear-shaped very quickly.
Addressing the question of the first amendment, Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis said…
“I’m a first amendment absolutist and believe in only two things completely – the First Amendment and boobs…”
Which seemed to ‘trigger’ Baldwin as she blinked and shook her head for a few seconds as if reeling from a McGregor haymaker, before asking Travis if he said “boobs” or “booze” – carefully spelling the former B-O-O-B-S (for fear of saying that unsafe word) as she reminded the panelist that she was indeed a woman.
The interview went on for a few more seconds before a second panelist – former ESPN editor Keith Reed (and self-proclaimed ‘friend of Jamele’) was asked to join in and he also could not get past Travis’ comment…
“You don’t love boobs, too?” asked Travis.
“I’m not talking about that on television because it’s irrelevant to the topic. It shouldn’t be brought up here,” Reed responded.
“Why not?” Travis reacted…
“I’m a supporter of women in their careers. I’m a supporter and a stark supporter of women like Brooke who have shared the airwaves before…”
Eventually, as Daily Caller details, Baldwin had enough.
“I’m done. I’m sorry. I’m done,”
“This conversation is over.”
And just like that we all forgot what we were talking about and distractions ensure Jamele Hill keeps her job.
See the full farcical interview here…
As a follow-up, late on Friday evening ESPN President John Skipper wrote an internal memo proclaiming that reporters shouldn’t get personal or inflammatory and that Jamele Hill’s tweets violated the network’s standards..
I want to remind everyone about fundamental principles at ESPN.
ESPN is about sports. Last year, we broadcast over 16,000 sports events. We show highlights and report scores and tell stories and break down plays.
And we talk about sports all day every day. Of course, sports is intertwined with society and culture, so “sticking to sports” is not so simple. When athletes engage on issues or when protests happen in games, we cover, report and comment on that. We are, among other things, the largest, most accomplished and highly resourced sports news organization. We take great pride in our news organization.
We have programs on which we discuss and even debate sports, as well as the issues that intersect with sports. Fans themselves love to debate and discuss sports.
ESPN is not a political organization. Where sports and politics intersect, no one is told what view they must express.
At the same time, ESPN has values. We are committed to inclusion and an environment of tolerance where everyone in a diverse work force has the equal opportunity to succeed. We consider this human, not political. Consequently, we insist that no one be denigrated for who they are including their gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual identity.
We have issues of significant debate in our country at this time. Our employees are citizens and appropriately want to participate in the public discussion. That can create a conflict for our public facing talent between their work and their personal points of view. Given this reality, we have social media policies which require people to understand that social platforms are public and their comments on them will reflect on ESPN. At a minimum, comments should not be inflammatory or personal.
We had a violation of those standards in recent days and our handling of this is a private matter. As always, in each circumstance we look to do what is best for our business.
In light of recent events, we need to remind ourselves that we are a journalistic organization and that we should not do anything that undermines that position.
We also know that ESPN is a special place and that our success is based on you and your colleagues’ work. Let’s not let the public narrative re-write who we are or what we stand for. Let’s not be divided in that pursuit. I will need your support if we are to succeed.
In other words, he apologized as Trump asked.
And finally, Ben Shapiro summed up the situation perfectly, tweeting: “CNN being profoundly offended because a dude said boobs is why Trump won. But really, it is.”