ESPN public editor Jim Brady published a blog post on Friday criticizing anchor Jemele Hill for violating the outlet’s editorial guidelines with her tweets that called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.”
“Let’s dispense with the suspense: I think Hill made an error in judgment in those tweets,” Brady wrote. “These were not tweets that served her or her employer well.”
The editor cited ESPN’s guidelines on political discussion stating that “the topic should be related to a current issue impacting sports. This condition may vary for content appearing on platforms with broader editorial missions — such as The Undefeated, FiveThirtyEight and espnW. Other exceptions must be approved in advance by senior editorial management.”
One problem is that Hill’s tweets didn’t have anything to do with sports, Brady said.
Additionally, the editor claimed Hill also violated the guideline telling journalists to “avoid personal attacks and inflammatory rhetoric.”
While conceding that what one considers “inflammatory” or a “personal attack” is subjective, Brady nonetheless said that “it’s hard to argue that ‘white supremacist’ isn’t pushing that line.”
Brady claimed that overall, “it seems clear the company leans left” and that ESPN needs to diversify politically now that media objectivity “seems to be a dying ideal.”
“Bringing back Hank Williams Jr. for Monday Night Football isn’t the answer,” he wrote. “The answer is improved ideological diversity in ESPN’s overall products.”