Ed Driscoll

First They Came For George Steinbrenner...

At National Review, Jay Nordlinger has been writing quite a bit recently about politics-free “safe zones” in pop culture — and the lack thereof:


Another pet theme, or pet peeve, of mine has to do with “safe zones” — my recent term for zones free of partisan politics. (These might include concerts, church, city tours . . .). A reader wrote me to say that he was sick of the intrusion of politics into the sports pages — hear, hear. Been singing this song forever. Those politics always — always — come from the left. And it’s easy to see why. More about that in a sec.

Anyway, my reader was irked in particular about this column, concerning Tiger Woods. The columnist wanted Woods to be more open to the media. And he wrote, “It’s not like we’re trying to pull President Obama aside for a couple of questions while he’s trying to save our country from itself.”

Yeah, yeah. Okay, here’s my theory: The sports guys are a tiny bit embarrassed — at some level — to be sportswriters. And they need to prove they’re every bit as serious — every bit as left-wing, every bit as “engaged” with the world — as the news and editorial guys. “Hey, don’t look down on me because I write about sports: I hate Bush too!”

Back in November of 2007, NBC’s Sunday Night Football ruined an otherwise exciting Cowboys-Eagles game with the  halftime stunt in the above video to promote global “warming”:

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” officially will become a “green” show this weekend, as it kicks off an initiative that will see the broadcaster televise 150 hours of environmentally-themed content this week across its broadcast and cable networks, online sites and mobile platforms.

Green week will start one hour into “Football Night in America,” at 8:00pm ET. That’s when studio host Bob Costas will explain the initiative.

About 90 seconds before the end of the pre-game show, NBC literally plans to turn the lights out, having the pregame crew finish the show in the dark. The studio lights will stay off through the halftime and post-game shows.


As I wrote at the time, documenting the then-ongoing shift further and further to the left by the TV networks owned by General Electric:

Television: It’s like radio without pictures!

Seriously though, all religions have their rituals which seem strange, old-fashioned, and just downright rococco to outsiders, and this is yet another example. (But wouldn’t turning off the 90 babillion kilowatts of power that light-up a night game at the “Linc” have saved a helluva lot more energy than turning off a handful of Lowel Omnis back at the studio?)

For decades conservatives have complained endlessly about the big three TV networks’ biases, only to be rebuffed by television journalists and producers who would respond with a shrug, “Biased? Us? Huh–sorry, I just can’t see it, myself.” (CBS’s Dan Rather, not surprisingly, was a master at this technique.)

But lately, NBC has really let it all hang out, even on a show as mainstream as Sunday Night Football. Pink, the rockerette who screamed the show’s theme song last year is a PETA spokeshumanoid. (Happily, this year she was replaced.) Keith Olbermann, who routinely compares conservatives to Nazis on NBC’s MSNBC cable outlet appears on the pregame show and at halftime. This week show featured ads for Al Gore’s upcoming appearance on 30 Rock, beyond Obama’s appearance last night on Saturday Night Live. And elsewhere on NBC, their flagship Nightly News show is hosted by a man who has compared America’s founding fathers to terrorists.


But at least that was back at the studio. Now sports game themselves are aiming overt political propaganda directly at their fans in the stadiums:

Last night I was at Yankee Stadium watching the Yanks exciting extra-inning playoff win. Along with 50,000 other shivering fans we had to endure a scoreboard message from Robert Redford sponsored by the National Defense Resources Council demanding that we lower our standard of living to stop global warming. The volume was turned on so loud that Redford’s voice could be heard above the howling wind and freezing rain of a mid- October evening in New York City.

For years we’ve been bombarded by liberal screeds from Wolf Blitzer at airport terminals and Sanjay Gupta in physicians waiting rooms. Now it seems we have to endure them at sporting events.

Was Major League Baseball coerced into subjecting fans to this drivel or does it represent the sincere beliefs of the Commissioner’s office? Perhaps the latter is the case. Could that be the real reason behind the decision of Hinderaker’s Minnesota Twins to build an outdoor stadium? If Gore and Redford are right, your colleagues John and Scott could soon be watching a November World Series Night game in Minneapolis wearing short sleeve shirts.

Seriously, what can be done to stop this insidious invasion of our public space by left wing propagandists spouting costly nonsense?


One option is to give them what they want — cancel sports events, particularly at night, and simultaneously, cancel all film and television productions, which require gigawatts of electricity to power their lighting grids and cameras. But you go first, Bob, and set the example for the rest of us.

Of course, Redford doesn’t have the chutzpah to actually go that far: global warming is after all, “school prayer for liberals” as Harvey Mansfield once dubbed it. It’s a way to assuage the enormous guilt of the Hollywood elite (or at least the politically correct “Mini-Me” personae they craft for public consumption) without having to do anything different.

Up until recent years, sports was one of the last areas of what remains of the mass culture of the last century to resist overt politicization (aside from the sports pages of course, as Nordlinger has written). Victor Davis Hanson has already checked out of most of the remainder of pop culture and he’s far from alone. As the NFL and MLB seem to doing their damnedest to accelerate the process, Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff asks what can be done to stem the tide. Glenn Reynolds suggests, echoing the words of our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president and his staffers, “Punch back twice as hard”, and a few years ago, Laura Ingraham issued her cri du coeur in response to the politicized music industry: “Shut Up & Sing!”


Any other suggestions?

(H/T for headline: Media Matters and the Huffington Post.)

Related: “CNBC, Reuters fall for climate hoax”, Politico reports. As the video clip at the top of this post highlights, at GE, they want to believe.

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