VIDEO: Dennis Miller Compared ESPN to Germany and North Korea


Dennis Miller appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show Wednesday night, and his first discussion topic was Curt Schilling’s firing from ESPN. Miller, who failed on Monday Night Football not because of politics but because he was bad, weighed in:

"[Schilling’s] got to remember in the world of sports bloody sock puppets are in charge of the programming, so he’s got to use his head over there. Now there was a book years ago called Those Guys Have All the Fun. It didn’t reflect very well. They had a lot of human resource problems, so they’re a little reactionary over there about keeping everyone in line because their track record’s a little weird. It’s like Germany, they’re always the first people to let the refugees in untethered because they’ve got such a crap track record."

Miller then mentioned how Schilling’s bloody sock scene was cut out of a recent ESPN2 airing of 30 for 30 (which had to be shortened because the lead-in game went over), concluding: “It’s like ESPN-orth Korea over there.”

My 2¢:

1) Miller, who has been branding himself as a Conservative pundit, is laughing through the segment and obviously speaking in comedic hyperbole. None of ESPN’s past transgressions are akin to Nazi Germany, and any real or perceived leftward movement is not quite as severe as autocratic propaganda.

2) As Miller alludes to, Schilling willfully took a bat to a beehive. There were ways he could have conveyed his beliefs with more care and subtlety when he was drawing $2.5 mil a year. He chose and chooses to express himself with grotesquely over-the-top memes.

3) That being said, it’s not unfair to say that ESPN has moved Left in recent years. Gone are Jason Whitlock, Colin Cowherd, and Skip Bayless (the latter two ESPN did make an effort to keep, but they’re nevertheless gone). It should be noted that they also excised Keith Olbermann, who is on the left side of the aisle. Bill Simmons is also gone, but he has not offended either side with political views.

Many of the young commentators who have been getting big pushes forward from ESPN – Bomani Jones, Kate Fagan, Pablo Torre, Sarah Spain – have left-leaning voices. (Last year I asked Spain if she was worried that her politics might make her polarizing in Middle America; she was not). ESPN has been deliberately getting younger and more diverse. Viewers will decide whether they believe is a good or bad thing.

4) FS1 is betting big on regional inroads. This is, as Ty Duffy wrote earlier this week, partially predicated on local sports bundles in various markets. It’s also doing this by seeking to replicate the Fox News model on commentary. Whether they will be able to achieve metrics that justify their big, ongoing investment in a studio block remains to be seen.