What Was With McCain's Surprise Appearance On Mike & Mike This Morning?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Okay, this Politics thing with ESPN has gotten just a little too weird at this point. In August, Barack Obama sat down for an interview and the network's PR Department stated that it was trying to get a hold of John McCain for a sit down of his own. They followed that up with an interview at the beginning of this week with the Republican candidate and everything seemed to be over and done with in regards to Politics and the "Leader".

Well yesterday, MDS at Fanhouse put up an interesting post in regards to a potential ESPN "Pro-Obama" stance and how multiple employees have made contributions to the Democratic nominee....

A database search of donations to the campaigns of Obama and John McCain reveals that at least six ESPN editorial employees -- Desmond Howard, Scoop Jackson, Kelly Naqi, John Saunders, Bill Walton and Stephen A. Smith -- have given to Obama's campaign. No ESPN editorial employees are listed as donors to McCain's campaign in the records at OpenSecrets.org.

I asked ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz what ESPN's policy is on political donations, and he told me:

"For ESPN in general, decisions on political donations are made by employees entirely on their own. For specifically folks with editorial roles, we discourage public participation in matters of political advocacy or controversy."
While the post was an interesting thought, I really don't think that someone exercising their constitutional right to support and vote for whomever they please is an issue. I think that point was made in the quote from Josh Krulewitz, but an interesting thing happened today potentially in response to the situation above .

Without any press releases on the matter, and without warning, John McCain showed up via telephone for an interview on Mike and Mike in the morning. With the way that ESPN promoted both Sports Center interview this was a very odd, but it got even weirder as Greenberg and Golic were hyping the Senator's appearance before he came on. Every time they brought up McCain they made a specific point of saying that they were not being biased and Greenberg even said, "And yes democrats, we are working to bring Barack Obama on the show hopefully as soon as next week," at one point. That's an odd choice of words if you ask me and the way Greenie it put it made it seem almost defensive in nature.

You can hear that and see the interview in the video below, but this whole confusion, skepticism and random appearances are the reason they should have never gone done this road in the first place. Whether they were trying for an angle or not, alliances and conspiracy theories are always going to come into play when Politics are involved. I think the lesson learned is to just keep Sports and the White House separate from here on out....

Update: According to ESPN it was an item in a Mid Week update that ESPN emails out each Wednesday. Not exactly the same as the first go around though and it was a bit buried in that release, after a bunch of NFL items.

Does ESPN Have a Pro-Obama Bias? (Fanhouse)
Video: John McCain's Interview On ESPN (Awful Announcing)
Video: Obama's Sit-Down With Stuart Scott (Awful Announcing)


Couldn't agree with you more AA. Now if deadspin would follow your lead I could go back before the second Tuesday in November. Sports is a realease. Something we debate and put a lot of emotions into but at the sametime most of us realize it's not too important.
You take away that freedom when you start putting politicians on Sportscenter and have a quarter of you articles be about them or reference them.
I don't find it a big deal if a president or candidate throws out the first pitch at a game. But after that keep them on C-Span and the news outlets.

Zabka said...
Sep 18, 2008, 3:56:00 PM  

Kelly Naqi apparently gave $1,900. My question is: How the fuck does Kelly Naqi have almost two grand to waste on a political campaign? She does next to nothing, appearing on ESPN about three times per year. I can't believe how much those fuckers make.

As for the original topic, I hate both politics and ESPN; when you combine the two, it's like getting raped by Ronald McDonald.

cb said...
Sep 18, 2008, 3:58:00 PM  

They announced it yesterday. It wasn't without warning. Don't be ridiculous.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:01:00 PM  

Who announced it Anon? It certainly wasn't ESPN as a whole. If it was Mike & Mike themselves, then why did I receive about 10 emails from regular listeners of the show saying they were surprised?

Sep 18, 2008, 4:04:00 PM  

I don't read Deadspin anymore, and it's only in part because its comments section is unbelievably terrible (easily the worst of the sporting "blogosphere", they ought to disable them).

I just don't want any politics infused into my sports. None. It's not the job of a bunch of sportswriters to awkwardly wedge themselves into the political realm. You cover sports. I could care less what their little mustachioed new editor think about the election. You haven't the slightest bit of political or journalistic qualification! Cover your specialty. Stick to it. It's not just Deadspin, though they are one of the worst offenders. ESPN. Fox Sports.

For me, sports are an escape and I hate it when people try to needlessly politicize them.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:05:00 PM  

AA, so did McCain agree to be a contestant on Duel or not???

GMoney said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:06:00 PM  

There were commercials on 1050 in NYC yesterday afternoon and evening with Mike and Mike promoting McCain as today's guest. Didn't actually hear yesterday's show though.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:25:00 PM  

Do they have to give equal time to the other candidates?? Cuz I'd LOVE to see Mike & Mike try to interview Cynthia McKinney.

Nick said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:29:00 PM  

Last night my brother told me last night McCain was going to be on Mike & Mike this morning. It must have been mentioned by them yesterday.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:55:00 PM  

Just to be clear, it was last night.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:56:00 PM  

ESPN isn't a political channel. Hell, it's barely even a sports channel anymore.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 4:57:00 PM  

AA, it was announced on the ESPN Midweek release:

September 17, 2008
Senator John McCain Scheduled to Be Guest on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike
contact: dan.quinn@espn.com

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain is scheduled to be a guest on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 18, at 9:25 a.m. The show is simulcast on ESPN2. Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama will appear on the show in the near future.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 5:34:00 PM  

Greeny I always suspected as a Republican. He criticized fervent John Kerry supporter Ben Affleck for working on getting people to start voting in elections when it would be the first time he voted (But I think that was the point in Affleck's involvement showing that apathy can turn your life into ...) and fawned over the GWB first pitch during the 2001 WS years after it happened. Another clear sign was MNF had this bizarre stat that the day before election day if the home team loss so would the incumbent and Greeny was seriously freaking out and Golic had a fun time bothering him about it.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 5:42:00 PM  

zabka- Completely agree. Honestly I hate it when politicians have these wagers in stuff like the Super Bowl though it was fun watching Bloomberg look very uncomfortable in his Yankee apparel given that he is a Boston boy who kinda adopted my Mets.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 5:44:00 PM  

they talked about this for a good ten minutes on wednesdays show

Mike Georger said...
Sep 18, 2008, 6:50:00 PM  

Bill Simmons can't be happy about this.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 7:05:00 PM  

Of course ESPN is in the Obama camp, just like the rest of the liberal media. ESPN is just becoming harder to watch these days.

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 8:02:00 PM  

"Surprise Appearance" What are you looking for a personal call?? Promoted the day before and in media release....too funny

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 8:05:00 PM  

8:02, care to explain George Bodenheimer's contribution to McCain, if you so please?

Anonymous said...
Sep 18, 2008, 10:07:00 PM  

Honestly I hate it when politicians have these wagers in stuff like the Super Bowl

Especially if during the Stanley Cup Finals your Mayor calls and makes a bet with the Mayor of Charlotte when the team plays in Raleigh.

/my last Kwame Kilpatrick reference
//no, I'm not WDFN's Matt Dery

Sep 19, 2008, 12:17:00 AM  

They're going to talk to Obama next week too. I mean, they didn't even really get into political issues other than stuff that effects sports. It was a good interview. I have no problem with it at all. You people are such whiners. ESPN tries to go out of the box, you whine that they're being stupid. If they don't then y'all say, why isn't ESPN trying to be more creative. Get over yourselves.

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 12:58:00 AM  

As a listener of Mike and Mike on some sort of regular basis they have been talking about this all week. I dont know what information people are giving you but it has been AT LEAST one week since they have been talking about this interview.
Also McCain could not sound more out of touch with respect to how I feel about the "state of the sports union".

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 1:13:00 AM  

Pammy nominee from Thursday night's WVU-CU game:

Colorado reciever (I forgot his name) drops a relatively easy catch on third down in the 4th:

Jesse Palmer: He catches that pass10 out of ten times.
Chris Fowler: Well, 10 out of 11 rather.

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 1:28:00 AM  

9/18 4:01 here

They announced it during their show the day before. Not sure why this is such a big deal, but if you want to manufacture something that shouldn't be too concerning into a big deal, then be my guest. Though you should know by doing so you are just as guilty as ESPN when they blow a story, like Favre, out of proportion.

I would imagine that was the time that worked for the campaign, it just happened to be relatively short notice. And I'm sure ESPN didn't want to announce it before it was solid. As for Obama, I would guess the campaign agreed to appear but just haven't finalized the exact time. Believe it or not, presidential campaigns are scheduled pretty tightly and sometimes events and interviews are scheduled with short notice.

You're such a crybaby. This is why I avoid reading the writing on this site. It's the hackery of a contrarian malcontent. But the videos are funny, so keep that going.

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 6:45:00 AM  

"Greeny I always suspected as a Republican."

I'm not sure if he is or not. I remember in one part of his book, he described himself as liberal. Anyone have the wording?

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 6:47:00 AM  

"Every time they brought up McCain they made a specific point of saying that they were not being biased and Greenberg even said, "And yes democrats, we are working to bring Barack Obama on the show hopefully as soon as next week," at one point. That's an odd choice of words if you ask me and the way Greenie it put it made it seem almost defensive in nature."


U.S. Broadcasting Regulatory Rule

Simply put, a station which sells or gives one minute to Candidate A must sell or give the same amount of time with the same audience potential to all other candidates for the particular office.


Squarebush said...
Sep 19, 2008, 7:36:00 AM  

Yeah, this was definitely plugged multiple times throughout the week before Sen. McCain was on the show ... not quite sure how exactly it was a "surprise appearance"

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 8:13:00 AM  

This is such a non-issue, it's not even funny. I expect much more from AA. MUCH more.

Mike & Mike began talking about having the presidential candidates on their show the day they got back from doing the MNF game on ESPN (Wednesday, 9/10 I believe).

How much more notice do you want?

As for Greenburg saying multiple times that Obama would be on a future show, why WOULDN'T he mention that?

Serious non-issue here, guys. I'm disappointed in AA for even writing about it.

T.J. said...
Sep 19, 2008, 9:39:00 AM  

AA, you working today???

GMoney said...
Sep 19, 2008, 10:46:00 AM  

"AA, you working today???"

Must have locked himself in the basement.

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 12:29:00 PM  

Don't jack up my sports with political garbage. I primarily vote for the fact that my voice can be heard, but sports talk show hosts are right when they say their shows shouldn't be infiltrated, with conservative, liberal, communist, whatever propaganda it be. I know that everyone wants their voices to be heard, but if they don't know what they're talking about don't waste my time. I'll surely go someplace else to get my information.

Brad James said...
Sep 19, 2008, 1:42:00 PM  

Okay okay. I'll concede to them promoting it, but it wasn't nearly done in the same fashion as the first appearances were, which is odd.

The main issue of getting Politics involved in Sports still remains though. Regardless of the fact that I don't listen/watch Mike and Mike enough (or at all) to be aware that they announced the interview.

Sep 19, 2008, 2:31:00 PM  

I think you are reading way too into it. Also, I love this site, but the ESPN bashing is getting out of control.

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 4:00:00 PM  

Honestly, I completely agree with AA about the underlying issue of politics and sports. Don't act like he's taking the low road by bringing up a legitimate issue that's of interest to many people, including myself.

Also, it's ESPN. They need to be critiqued because they sure haven't shown much accountability in the past.

Anonymous said...
Sep 19, 2008, 6:41:00 PM  

Did anyone else notice on the Sports Reporters when John Saunders was talking about Josh Howard's nation anthem outrage that he showed the clip of Howard right up until he said "Obama '08"? Then Saunders said "and Howard went on to make disparaging remarks about Presidential Candidate Barack Obama." ! I was scratching my head about that until I saw that Saunders is an Obama donor.

Drew said...
Sep 23, 2008, 12:36:00 PM  
Chus said...
Sep 24, 2008, 5:58:00 PM  

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