spikeslovechild wrote: https://deadspin.com/internal-memo-espn-forbids-discussion-of-chinese-polit-1838881032
This could be because Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, sent a memo to shows mandating that any discussion of the Daryl Morey story avoid any political discussions about China and Hong Kong, and instead focus on the related basketball issues. The memo, obtained by Deadspin, explicitly discouraged any political discussion about China and Hong Kong. Multiple ESPN sources confirmed to Deadspin that network higher-ups were keeping a close eye on how the topic was discussed on ESPN’s airwaves.
ESPN first kicked off coverage of the Morey tweet Monday morning with SportsCenter doing a quick news hit on the topic. The segment steered clear of any political discussions, but notably called the protestors in Hong Kong “anti-government” protestors. Then, Mike Golic Jr. and Trey Wingo took up the discussion on their show, focusing mostly on how the story would have been different if James Harden or another star player had said what Morey said. Next, Stephen A. Smith went on the radio and delivered this gem. Highly Questionable featured a discussion with sportswriters Frank Isola and Israel Gutierrez that recapped the situation and wondered whether China would be placated by the league’s efforts at smoothing over the relationship
Some clarification. The memo said employees could
talk about Morey and basketball issues, but they could not
talk about China or Hong Kong. This does not amount to staying out of politics. Effectively, it gives employees the option
to stay out of politics, but also makes it okay for them to side against Daryl Morey (and, by extension, Hong Kong, human rights, and freedom). Without having to say it, what the memo meant was that they could
blame Morey for the impending loss of revenue, but they could not
praise him for his pro-democracy stance (because that would make reference to "Hong Kong and China"). Obviously, no one is allowed to blame China for the loss of revenue, because that would be talking about China, which isn't allowed, per the memo. The only problem with this memo is that it leaves out the possibility of sharing one thing: the truth. The truth is that it's the CCP who's being unreasonable in its totally disproportionate reaction to the tweet.
Utterly reprehensible from ESPN (though, yes, as one commentator said, it's as predictable as the sun rising). I've seen this for ten years of China-watching now. There were many years, during Obama's presidency, mostly, when all reporting on China seemed to require the phrase "escalating tensions" in reference to whichever party wasn't China. The phrase isn't in vogue anymore, but if it were, you'd see a hundred pieces in a hundred newspapers saying how Morey's tweet had contributed to "escalating tensions" with China. As though China were completely absolved of any culpability, an innocent victim of escalating tensions. Nope. You know who's constantly escalating the tensions? I'll give you one guess. Fortunately, people are starting to wake up, and many media outlets can no longer get away with such China pandering. ESPN, being a sports and entertainment outlet, can and does get away with it, so it seems.
To be clear, I'm fine with those commentators who are remarking on the potential loss of revenue, etc.. This is valid and valuable. I, like most people in this thread, want my sports news to be free of political opinions. However, many commentators have slid from there into actually implying that Morey is somehow at fault - for speaking out against a regime that's possibly the worst in human history. The ones who have done this have lost my respect forever - or until they change their stance. I will literally avoid these voices at all costs, indefinitely. That's how disgusted I am by their takes. I'm mostly referring to a couple of podcasters, but this applies to anyone else I see taking such stances in the future, too.
But, (as has probably already been mentioned in this thread,) ESPN is owned by Disney, who has a gigantic stake in China. China is the largest movie market for Disney, and they have theme parks over there, too. I'm not familiar with all the intricacies of the corporate ties involved (I'm sure it gets more corrupt the more you look at it), but this part, at least, is pretty well known.