Dan Le Batard says the best way to get an on-air job at ESPN is to be conservative

His argument makes more sense than you might think.

For several years now, ESPN has faced the accusation of liberal bias, stemming in part from the perceived viewpoints of its on-air personalities.

And for that very reason, says ESPN radio and TV host Dan Le Batard, it’s a good time to be a conservative looking for a job in Bristol. Via The Big Lead, here’s Le Batard’s explanation:

And here’s a written version of Le Batard’s comments:

“You know the best way in this industry to climb right now? Being the thing that you think that ESPN won’t hire. The best way to get in this business—I’ve got so many attorneys, so many lawyers, so many doctors ask me, ‘How do I do what you do? How do I get up there and give my sports opinions? That job looks like it’s more fun than my job.’ And my advice right now would be: Be the conservative sportswriter. ESPN needs more of those. Be the conservative. Will Cain—ESPN will be more likely to hire this person that you believe is not welcome at ESPN specifically because you believe that ESPN doesn’t have enough of them.”

Le Batard referred to ESPN host Will Cain, who last week criticized Kevin Durant for boycotting the White House in an explosive First Take segment, then seemed to imply that liberals call anyone who disagrees with them “stupid or immoral.” ESPN recently signed Cain, who is never shy about his conservative viewpoints, to a multi-year extension. In the press release announcing Cain’s new contract, an ESPN executive praised his “different and provocative point of view.

Anyway, back to LeBatard’s point about conservatives at ESPN. The suggestion that ESPN will look to hire people with right-of-center viewpoints, while on its face maybe counter-intuitive, makes a good deal of sense. Le Batard’s point seems to be that ESPN wants to appeal to the most viewers possible and will therefore assuage right-wing critics by hiring outspoken conservatives. That argument should hold water for anyone who believes that ESPN (owned by Disney, which is traded on the stock market) seeks to maximize profit. To the extent that the perception of liberal bias hurts the company’s bottom line, you can expect ESPN to combat it, and if hiring more conservative opinion-givers helps the company draw a bigger audience, then that’s presumably what it will do. It’s most likely in ESPN’s interest to make the “liberal bias” criticism go away.

Unless, of course, you believe that ESPN is nefariously pushing liberal politics to serve some sort of secret agenda. In that case, you might think Britt McHenry was fired for her politics, Sage Steele was demoted for hers, Will Cain is just a token and Le Batard is way off.

[The Big Lead]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • PAI

    Being liberal is more important than making money to them. Might make sense if you’re running a non-profit geared towards liberal causes, but being a cog in a publicly owned company is completely dumb.

    • namingrightsforsale

      So you’re saying that they care more about trying to improve the world (that is what “liberal causes” are) than they do maximizing their income? Is that supposed to be a criticism or a plaudit?

      • Patty Stacks

        Riiiiiiiiight…improve the word. Liberal causes have destroyed the world via useless idiots like yourself.

        • Christopher K. Smith

          Being controversial enough to keep people tuned in through the commercials is most important. Liberal or conservative doesn’t matter as much as having hot takes and stupid content.

          • inku palios

            Ask Will Cain & his views on climate change.

        • namingrightsforsale

          How have liberal causes destroyed the world? Conservative policies are much more commonly the ones that encourage greed/selfishness and deemphasize compassion.

      • PAI

        That is debatable, and yes their primary goal is to make money for shareholders, not proselytize all day.

        • namingrightsforsale

          Corporations not caring about anything but making money hasn’t really worked out too well for society though, has it? Also saying they “proselytize all day” seems like a wee bit of an exaggeration.

  • Gaspipe Casso

    Everyone hates white liberals.

  • Roger in Orlando

    LeBatard skews Goldwaterish in his Cubanism, but I’ve never noticed anything else about his politics. Truthfully, the ONLY time this becomes a public squabble is when conservative crybabies start screaming “BIAS.” Years of that Roger Ailes-blowing/Jack Kemp flattering neo-con Colin Cowherd on ESPN and nothing is said. He’s pushed out for crossing a line and after cozying up to Fox for YEARS, and the wingnuts go crazy. ESPN skews “liberal” by having a reasonably diverse workforce and emphasizing tolerance and generally soft-balling any controversial subject. Too many blacks, browns, women and Jews for the red-meat conservative audience to tolerate?

    • namingrightsforsale

      Reasonable point about conservative hypocrisy. It’s usually a defining feature of their attacks, which makes sense since because many of their attacks are overt projections.

  • Pay Up


  • BobLee Says

    Reader Comment debates like this are always so reaffirming that Darwin had it all backwards.