ESPN has gained a new derisive nickname, Extremely Stupid Political Network. On Tuesday, ESPN pulled an Asian-American college football commentator, from covering the University of Virginia game in Charlottesville because his name was Robert Lee. The ridiculous lengths ESPN goes to in the name of progressive politics has previously been discussed here, and here. The impact that has had on ESPN’s business was outlined here and here. The spillover effect has impacted the market value of Disney, ESPN’s parent company. Sports media analyst Clay Travis outlined the fundamental flaw with ESPN’s political pandering:
Middle America wants to pop a beer and listen to sports talk, they don’t want to be lectured about why Caitlyn Jenner is a hero, Michael Sam is the new Jackie Robinson of sports, and Colin Kaepernick is the Rosa Parks of football. ESPN made the mistake of trying to make liberal social media losers happy and as a result lost millions of viewers.
ESPN is not alone in this race to destroy a business in the name of progressive politics. Jim Geraghty of National Review highlighted how not only ESPN but Marvel and the University of Missouri have all hurt their bottom line with their progressive politics. Geraghty summed up ESPN’s problems:
more than a few viewers pointed to the network’s relentless coverage of Michael Sam (an openly gay football player) and Colin Kaepernick (who famously knelt during the national anthem in protest), the prestigious award it gave to Caitlyn Jenner, and its firing of baseball analyst Curt Schilling over an offensive social-media post as evidence that the Disney-owned company had become increasingly overt in progressive political messaging, at the expense of its previous identity focused upon sports.

ESPN and Marvel are both owned by Disney and should strive to fulfill their parent company’s mission of offering their customers an escape from their everyday lives. Both chose to bend to the will of the ‘social media losers’ to the detriment of their bottom line. As Geraghty noted about Marvel:

sales of the comic books have been increasingly disappointing since 2015, a slump that coincides with the publisher’s increasingly obvious effort to make its core characters diverse: Thor became a woman, African-American characters took over the mantles of Spider-Man and Captain America, and an African-American woman started wearing Iron Man’s armor.

A comic book fan outlined the problem with the change in editorial direction at Marvel:

The point of many of these books is not to tell interesting stories about new characters struggling to be superheroes, but to check off the “diversity” and “inclusivity” and “representation” boxes on the progressive checklist. As such, the characters are bland, flawless sock-puppets for their authors to rant about their progressive agendas. Whatever story that might exist gets lost in the need to virtue signal to the progressive readers who ironically do not buy the books.

The focus on social justice has also hurt the University of Missouri. The progressive Weekly Standard has trumpeted how the protests at the University of Missouri ‘got results’. The Weekly Standard is correct that there was a tangible result to the protests. However, those results were ultimately harmful to the university. As Geraghty outlined:

Freshmen enrollment is down 35 percent since the protests, and the university begins this year with the smallest incoming class since 1999. The campus has taken seven dormitories out of service, laid off 100 people, and eliminated 300 more positions through retirement and attrition.

The actions of the social justice warriors make sense in that they make common cause with proponents of socialist economic views. Centrists and conservatives have reacted to this liberal fascism with their pocket books. Marvel appears to get the connection and are adjusting their editorial stance again.  ESPN has outwardly rejected any connection between their political bias and loss in viewership. These businesses are free to pander to progressives at the detriment of their bottom line. While Marvel gets the connection and is listening to their audience, ESPN seems determined to become irrelevant in the name of being on the right side of politics