ESPN reasserts policy on political conversation

President Donald Trump
Updated 23 July 2019

ESPN reasserts policy on political conversation

NEW YORK: ESPN is making sure that its employees know there is no change in the network’s policy to avoid talking about politics unless it intersects with sports after radio talk show host Dan Le Batard criticized President Donald Trump and his recent racist comments and ESPN itself on the air this week.
The reminder went out Friday to all employees, including Le Batard, according to an ESPN employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about personnel matters.
ESPN has not spoken publicly about Le Batard’s comments, including whether he faces any disciplinary action.
For ESPN, the episode raises comparisons to what happened following anti-Trump tweets by its former anchor Jemele Hill nearly two years ago. Following that case, and criticism among some conservatives about left-leaning remarks on ESPN’s air, network president Jimmy Pitaro decreed that its employees should avoid political talk unless they’re reporting on issues raised by sports figures.
Le Batard spoke in the wake of the president’s rally in North Carolina, where Trump renewed his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color, prompting a chant from his audience of “send her back” directed at US Rep. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota. The ESPN host said he found the attacks on Omar to be un-American and deeply offensive, and that it was wrong of Trump to seek re-election by dividing people.
“We here at ESPN don’t have the stomach for the fight,” Le Batard said. “We don’t talk about what is happening unless there is some sort of weak, cowardly sports angle that we can run it through.”

BACKGROUND

• The reminder went out after talk show host Dan Le Batard criticized President Donald Trump.

• The president’s Twitter account has been silent about Le Batard so far.

Le Batard’s criticism of ESPN’s policy sets him apart from Hill, who in September 2017 tweeted on her personal account that Trump was a “white supremacist” and “bigot.” The White House called that a fireable offense, but Hill apologized and the network accepted it.
She was suspended a month later for violating the network’s social media policy when she tweeted in favor of an advertiser boycott against the Dallas Cowboys, whose owner Jerry Jones had said players who disrespected the American flag would not play on his team.
Hill has said she regretted putting her bosses in a difficult position, and amicably left ESPN within a year. She now writes for The Atlantic and has a weekly podcast on Spotify.
Along with the White House call for Hill’s firing, Trump tweeted in October 2017 that “with Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”
The president’s Twitter account has been silent about Le Batard so far.


Saudis switch from TV to mobile video

A man records a video with his phone in Berlin, Germany, August 24, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 August 2019

Saudis switch from TV to mobile video

  • Short online films are watched most during the traditional primetime TV slot between 5pm and 11pm, for an average of 53 minutes

RIYADH: More Saudis watch short online videos than traditional TV, a new study suggests. Researchers found that more than 85 percent of Saudis viewed videos lasting less than 10 minutes at least once a day. Eight out of 10 watched premium professional short films every day, while only seven out of 10 watched traditional TV every day.
Short online films are watched most during the traditional primetime TV slot between 5pm and 11pm, for an average of 53 minutes.
Of those surveyed, 93 percent said mobile video helped them discover new and unique content, and 91 percent said it stimulated their minds, put them in a positive mood and gave them a chance to take a break from their daily lives.
“Saudis are some of the most avid short-form video consumers in the world,” said Andy Pang, head of international marketing science at Snapchat, the multimedia messaging app, which commissioned the survey.

HIGHLIGHT

A new study shows that while more video is being consumed than ever before in the Kingdom, there are major changes in viewing habits.

“With one of the highest levels of mobile Internet penetration, and one of the highest social messaging and media usage rates in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is poised for a mobile, short-form expansion that may even eclipse more established markets.”
For the survey, Snapchat commissioned the National Research Group, an independent market research company, to conduct a representative study of 869 Saudis.