Fox News Caves to Leftist Pressure, Pulls Their Own Editor’s Op-Ed Decrying Identity Politics at Olympics
Fox News published an op-ed by John Moody, executive vice president and executive editor, Wednesday titled “In Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race — not the race of the winner,” only to pull the piece under pressure from identity-politics lobbyists and left-leaning media.
By Friday, Fox had removed the editorial – which criticized the heavy focus on the racial and sexual “diversity” of the American team at the upcoming Winter Olympics at PyeongChang, South Korea, to the detriment of the traditional emphasis on athletic prowess – from their website without an explanatory note. When asked, a Fox News representative told Breitbart News only that “John Moody’s column does not reflect the views or values of FOX News and has been removed.”
In his op-ed, Moody slammed Jason Thompson, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s (USOC) “director of diversity and inclusion” for insisting on a Winter Olympics team that “looks more like America.” The Washington Post’s Rick Maese, who wrote up his interview with Thompson, openly admits this, in large part, merely means a team with fewer white people on it. “[T]his year’s U.S. Olympic team, not unlike those of most other nations gathering in PyeongChang this week, is still overwhelmingly white,” he laments.
“We’re not quite where we want to be,” the USOC’s Thompson told Maese about the racial makeup of the American Olympic team, adding later, ““We still have some work to do. … We’re not quite there yet.”
Of the U.S. Winter Olympic team, the Wapo’s Maese writes, “10 are African American — 4 percent — and another 10 are Asian American. The rest, by and large, are white.”
According to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, white Americans make up 73.3 percent of the U.S. population (62 percent if white-identifying Hispanics are counted separately). Accepting Maese’s estimate that 92 percent of the 2018 U.S. Winter Olympic Team is white, this would mean whites are over-represented by 25.5 percent.
Next, however, Maese notes that the much larger Summer Olympic Team USA has a “strikingly” different racial makeup. “The United States took more than 550 athletes to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Of that group, more than 125 were African American — about 23 percent,” he writes.
The same Census Bureau estimates put black Americans at 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, meaning blacks were 82.5 percent over-represented at the summer Olympics. If Maese’s numbers are correct, the combined winter and summer teams feature 135 black American athletes out of 793 total Olympians. That is to say, they are 17 percent black and that African Americans are 35 percent over-represented, significantly more than the 25.5 figure for white Americans at the Winter Olympics that Maese and Thompson call a “lack of diversity” that is a “priority” to rectify.
Nowhere in the Washington Post’s piece about the work in progress to combat the over-abundance of whites on the winter Team USA do Maese or Thompson make any negative implication about the massive over-abundance of African Americans on the summer or combined Olympic delegations.
Fox News’s Moody found this type of squabbling over the exact racial makeup of Team USA and the unrelenting cheer-leading for “diversity” distasteful. It was exactly this WaPo piece to which he was responding when he wrote his op-ed. He criticized the USOC for trotting out what he called, “[A], frankly, embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year’s U.S. team.”
Moody quipped that the USOC would like to change the Olympic motto from “Faster, Higher, Stronger” to “Darker, Gayer, Different,” and addressed what he felt was Thompson and Maese’s inappropriate concentration on race and sexuality over excellence without regard to differences, writing:
Insisting that sports bow to political correctness by assigning teams quotas for race, religion or sexuality is like saying that professional basketball goals will be worth four points if achieved by a minority in that sport – white guys, for instance – instead of the two or three points awarded to black players, who make up 81 percent of the NBA. Any plans to fix that disparity? Didn’t think so.
If someone is denied a slot on a team because of prejudice, that’s one thing. Complaining that every team isn’t a rainbow of political correctness defeats the purpose of sports, which is competition.
The response from the left was immediate, unforgiving, and unrelenting.
Esquire.com’s Dave Holmes called Moody’s opinion “the dumbest thing I’ve read in ages:”
— Dave Holmes (@DaveHolmes) February 8, 2018
Gawker.com offspring and Jezebel.com stablemate Deadspin’s Laura Wagner incredulously annotated quotes from Moody’s piece with “Jesus.” and “Huh?” and claimed the piece “quickly spirals into a hysterical, hypothetical-riddled screed about right-wingers’ favorite target: political correctness.”
Matthew Nassbaum, Politico’s White House reporter, apparently believed comparison to this site (which significantly out draws his own) was insult enough for Moody’s daring to respond to the Washington Post. “This is the real lede of a real column by the executive editor of Fox News,” he tweeted. “Its transformation into a profitable version of Breitbart appears complete.”
Moody made only passing reference to sexual “diversity” (Maese’s piece led with the fact 2 of the 234 American athletes in PyeongChang are openly gay men), but it was the gay that which was most incensed by his editorial.
“The executive vice president of Fox News targeted some of our nation’s top athletes with vicious anti-LGBTQ and biased rhetoric at what should be the proudest moment of their lives,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), told the Hollywood Reporter.
Merely removing the article was not enough for Ellis. She demanded that Moody be made to apologize and that Fox carry articles by gay athletes as recompense for having published the piece at all, saying:
These athletes are at the Olympics because they already won by qualifying to represent the United States on the world’s stage; and they did so despite facing discrimination from places like Fox News throughout their careers. Moody should not only apologize to the athletes and fans for this disgraceful post, but Fox News should open their site for diverse athletes to share their own personal stories and perspectives.
“The U.S.O.C. does not have quotas for its Olympic delegation, and to suggest that race, sexuality, or gender orientation are the reasons these incredible athletes made the cut is insulting, repugnant and dismissive of a lifetime of hard work,” the gay lobbying group “Human Rights Campaign’s” Stephen Peters told THR, despite the fact Moody never suggested any athlete on the 2018 team was unqualified and was responding to an article explicitly saying it was a “priority” the team “look” a certain way.
Not to be outdone, Catherine Sakimura, deputy director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, insisted to THR that Moody’s “racist and homophobic sentiment demeans our U.S. Olympic athletes, who should be celebrated as they represent our country.”
Having successfully pressured Fox News into tossing Moody’s piece down the memory hole, the left offered no respite in their victory. CNN’s Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy, a former conservative journalist with The Blaze and Campus Reform who now specializes in shaming right-leaning media figures and outlets, called the op-ed “inflammatory” and then went on his network’s CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin to “school” Moody, saying:
I’m not sure if understands how it works, how you get to the Olympics. It’s not a college application. These athletes have … devoted their whole lives to getting to the Olympics … and now they’re going and he’s somewhat perplexed or upset that they’re celebrating the diversity of Team USA. … How did it get up on the website? … Did he just publish on the website? This is a Fox News executive.
— Brooke Baldwin (@BrookeBCNN) February 9, 2018
Breitbart News’s request for additional clarification on the decision to remove the article went unanswered. Fox News representatives also did not respond as to whether they would comply with the gay lobbyist’s additional demands and force Moody to apologize.