Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 18, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

ESPN AND EASTERBROOK....This Easterbrook firing thing really bugs me. Look, what he said was stupid and repugnant, and he owes us a better explanation of what he meant, but he did apologize and firing him is just insane overreaction.

And I know I'm going to get a lot of shit for agreeing with Jonah Goldberg, but I think he explains pretty well exactly why it bugs me:

Indeed, creating a climate where offending Jews automatically results in your termination will do far more to hurt Jews in this country than anything which might have resulted from Easterbrook's original comments.

I agree. Easterbrook deserved to get smacked down pretty hard, but unlike Trent Lott he's not majority leader of the Senate, and unlike Rush Limbaugh he didn't refuse to apologize. (And unlike both of them, he doesn't have a past history that makes us suspicious in the first place.)

Maybe there's a backstory here that we don't know about, but I sure think ESPN owes us an explanation for their heavy-handed reaction. I haven't seen anything yet, despite the fact that, as I understand it, sports networks are pretty fully staffed on weekends.

UPDATE: Was this instead a reaction to the fact that Easterbrook took a shot at Disney and Michael Eisner, which owns ESPN? I sure hope not. Sure, normally you expect employees not to criticize the boss, but journalism is different. If Easterbrook got fired for that, it's not much different than firing Peter Jennings for airing a news story critical of Disney. In other words, it would be even worse than getting fired for what he said about Jews.

Kevin Drum 5:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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