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Monday, September 13, 2004

ESPN's Patriotic Propaganda

I woke up Saturday morning in time to catch the start of the 10am SportsCenter. Since it was the 9/11 anniversary, they went out live to some US military base in Kuwait for the raising of the flag. This seemed to suggest rather strongly that our current military presence in the Persian Gulf is somehow justified by the 9/11 attacks. Is it any wonder that with willing accomplices in the likes of ESPN the Bush administration has convinced a considerable slice of the US population that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11?

Personally, I prefer to have my sports news delivered devoid of any political content, yet ESPN seems to be wrapping itself in the flag more frequently in recent years. Last week the network reveled in the Miracle on Ice, a time that made us "proud to be Americans again," yadda yadda, as the top sports story in the network's 25-year history. They have done an overtly pro-military "Jocks-to-GIs" series on athletes who joined up, and in 2001 they lamely chose sports ceremonies after 9/11 as the "top game" of the year, even though it was obviously not a game at all.

Perhaps the silver lining could be that if ESPN is receiving Pentagon largesse in exchange for broadcasting such propaganda that might keep the cable bill down.

Two other points regarding the NFL's opening weekend. First, I should've accompanied my picks with a big fat disclaimer that I'm not endorsing sports betting or engaging in any actual money wagers. I'm simply playing for fun and for pride (or, alternately, to embarrass myself in a public forum). Second, I'm worried that living in DC means that I'll be forced to watch a lot of Redskins and Ravens games and not much else--almost like New York being relegated to Giants and Jets in the pre-network doubleheader days. Redskins fans are so overly excited today that it's rather pathetic. If memory serves, they were excited about Steve Spurrier getting a few wins last September too.