The network asked to have its branding removed from an upcoming PBS series on the NFL and head injuries. Two of its reporters contributed to the effort, and there's a report that the decision followed pressure from the NFL.
The NFL and one of its broadcast partners, ESPN, are getting some blowback after ESPN pulled out of an investigative project with Frontline on PBS about head injuries in the National Football League. The league denies pressuring ESPN in any way.
PBS made this announcement yesterday. ESPN responded:
Because ESPN is neither producing nor exercising editorial control over the Frontline documentaries, there will be no co-branding involving ESPN on the documentaries or their marketing materials. The use of ESPN's marks could incorrectly imply that we have editorial control. As we have in the past, we will continue to cover the concussion story through our own reporting.
The NFL has been known to be vigiliant in protecting its brand, says John Ourand, media reporter at Sports Business Journal.
"It's called The Shield. They love to protect The Shield," says Ourand. "In fact, that's one of the reasons they started their own network, the NFL Network. And what's ironic is that on the NFL Network, they do cover the concussion issue ... so they're not scared of this, they're not shy of this. That's what makes what happened so much more confusing."
The NFL is big business for ESPN, as well as other sports-broadcasting networks like FOX, CBS and NBC. ESPN alone pays the NFL $1 billion for Monday Night Football and highlight rights, and they just signed a deal for the next decade for close to $2 billion a year.
"Journalistically, this is a huge black eye for ESPN," Ourand adds. "I think it shows that ESPN bowed to some sort of pressure that was given by the NFL, and I think that's a real shame because ESPN has spent the past couple of years hiring some of the best sports journalists out there. They have taken people from the New York Times, some of the best newspapers, in order to get in there and cover these types of topics. What I'm going to be looking for is whether those people that came over find this untenable, because they're hirable people, and if they start to leave, then we'll know something's up."
But with business partners like the NFL, can ESPN hold on to its editorial integrity?
"That is literally the billion dollar question. I think they can," says Ourand. "I think that there's enough of a division between the business side of ESPN and the editorial side of ESPN. But the problem is, it's all called ESPN."
The zoo did not know the panda was pregnant until earlier this month, when Mei Xiang began to act like she was expecting.
Bob Filner has resigned after accusations of groping and forcibly kissing as many as 18 women. The City Council voted to accept an agreement hammered out between Filner and city negotiators.
Climate skeptics point to 15 years of no warming trend as a reason to doubt global warming. But Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research can explain a good bit of that temperature plateau — and he argues the Earth has continued to warm appreciably, even though our thin blanket of atmosphere hasn't.
By the standard of normal golfing mortals, Tiger Woods has had an incredible summer. He's won multiple tournaments and millions of dollars in prize money. What he didn't do was win any of golf's four major championships. And those major wins are his measure of success.
Most charities get money from donors and spend it on things they think will help people — schools, medicine, farm animals. GiveDirectly just gives money away. And that poses a challenge to the more traditional charities.
Putin issued the 10-week ban along with other orders designed to tighten security. All of this comes in the shadow of newly-passed anti-gay laws.