20 Oct 2003 Will ESPN Give Gregg Easterbrook the Rush Limbaugh Treatment?
Here’s what NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi is saying about a new controversy involving another ESPN personality under fire:
It may be time to sack the “Tuesday Morning Quarterback.
That’s the name of Gregg Easterbrook’s football column appearing on ESPN.com. Easterbrook is a senior editor at the New Republic magazine, where he maintains an Internet blog. On Monday, October 13, in a column complaining about the violence in the new movie “Kill Bill,” Easterbrook questioned the religious morality of the studio executives at Miramax and its parent Walt Disney Company for distributing it. Disney also owns ESPN.
Harvey Weinstein of Miramax and Michael Eisner of Disney are both Jewish. Easterbrook questioned their religious consciences, writing: “Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence?”
Easterbook has since apologized on that very same blog site, calling it a case of “mangled words.” It’s easy to accept his apology and move on under normal circumstances, but ESPN happens to be the same network that just a few weeks ago expressed great dismay and regret and — depending on what stories you believe — got rid of conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh for saying the media promotes the careers of black quarterbacks like Donovan McNabb.
One could say that Easterbrook’s blog remark is part of a pattern of insensitivity. This past January, in a review he wrote of Kenneth Bradsher’s anti-SUV book “High and Mighty,” he approvingly reprinted Bradsher’s assertion that the roads will be less safe in coming years as “immigrants, the lower middle class and the poor, who generally speed, run lights, drive drunk and crash more often than the prosperous class” begin to acquire secondhand SUVs.
Even though neither of Easterbrook’s remarks were made on ESPN, network executives must take notice of them. Their outrage over Rush demands it.
Send Easterbrook to sensitivity training? Suspend him? Fire him? That’s up to the network. But doing nothing is hypocritical.