Would you be surprised to know that a lot of NFL fans booed the players who kneeled, clenched their fists, stayed in the locker room, etc. while the flag was unfurled and the National Anthem was sung?
Would you be surprised to know that the networks, with all those millions invested in the league, would suppress any indication of such booing if they could?
From Michael McCarthy’s article for the Sporting News:
With President Donald Trump’s attacks against protesting NFL players still reverberating, the league’s TV partners decided to air live coverage of the national anthem before Week 3 games. Those partners left out a key element of the coverage: crowd shots of angry fans.
Some fans, if they reacted at all, happily clapped and cheered during protests, but others did not, and they angrily let their home teams know it. The audio mics picked up the boos. Yet the TV networks mostly avoided crowd shots Sunday, so there was never a chance for viewers to see fans jeering players.
One behind-the-scenes TV staffer at another stadium told Sporting News that camera operators were ordered to avoid crowd shots in case they showed fans counterprotesting the protests.
If crowd shots were indeed purposely avoided, it was a wise business decision by the networks not to bite the hand that feeds them their most popular programming, but a weak move from a journalistic standpoint. By covering one of the most significant days in NFL history with rose-colored glasses, the networks cheated viewers. We got an incomplete picture of what really happened in stadiums on Sunday and Monday.
Asking again: would this surprise you?
And would it not follow that network news coverage of the fan reaction was similarly suppressed/manipulated to put this in a less negative light?
And, moving beyond football, does this make it clear that networks are perfectly willing to suppress information from viewers for their own purposes?
A reminder: In last year’s election, over 96% of the money donated to candidates by journalists was donated to Hillary Clinton – less than 4% to Donald Trump.
Does that make anything clear about the coverage of this administration since even before it took office?
I would hope so.