ESPN Goes Red

Sunday morning, ESPN's normally watchable and well-produced "Outside the Lines (OTL)" aired an uncritical feature on Lester Rodney, "a white sportswriter who crusaded for baseball integration."

The OTL producers conceded that Rodney did his writing for the Daily Worker, the house organ of the Communist Party USA, but the subtext of this concession was that the Communists, Rodney in particular, were keen on racial justice when the rest of America couldn't have cared less.

Where do I begin?

As we know now, the CPUSA was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union.  No sentence appeared in the Daily Worker that did not serve the interests of that benighted empire.  When Rodney began writing in 1936, the Soviets had recently completed its terror starvation of the small farmers known as "kulaks," most of them Ukrainian.  The body count reached about 7 million.  Segregated baseball apparently troubled Rodney more than genocide.

In September 1936, the Soviets launched the grotesque internal purge known as the "Yezhovshchina," killing a million more of its citizens.  Rodney stayed silent.  Although Jewish, he stayed silent too a few years later when Stalin signed his unholy pact with Hitler.

This sportswriter had a mission.  Staring with the trial of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti a decade earlier, Stalin had assigned his American apparatchiks the task of undermining the idea of America as melting pot. For the Soviet experiment to prevail, the world had to see America through fresh, unblinking eyes as a simmering stew of xenophobic injustice.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Katherine Ann Porter, a Sacco and Vanzetti supporter, came to see the depth of Soviet insincerity while standing vigil on the eve of the pair's execution.  She approached her group leader, a dogmatic Communist, with her hope that the immigrant duo could still be saved.

"Saved," said the communist, "who wants them saved? What earthly good would they do us alive?"

In a similar vein, the last thing Rodney and the Soviets wanted was to see Major League Baseball integrated. After Jackie Robinson broke through the color barrier, after Stalin declared America the glavy vrag, the main enemy, after Stalin's crazed purge of Jewish doctors, right up to and beyond Stalin's death, Rodney kept endorsing the party line and enabling Soviet evil throughout the world.

Let us just hope that the producers at OTL are merely ignorant.
Sunday morning, ESPN's normally watchable and well-produced "Outside the Lines (OTL)" aired an uncritical feature on Lester Rodney, "a white sportswriter who crusaded for baseball integration."

The OTL producers conceded that Rodney did his writing for the Daily Worker, the house organ of the Communist Party USA, but the subtext of this concession was that the Communists, Rodney in particular, were keen on racial justice when the rest of America couldn't have cared less.

Where do I begin?

As we know now, the CPUSA was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union.  No sentence appeared in the Daily Worker that did not serve the interests of that benighted empire.  When Rodney began writing in 1936, the Soviets had recently completed its terror starvation of the small farmers known as "kulaks," most of them Ukrainian.  The body count reached about 7 million.  Segregated baseball apparently troubled Rodney more than genocide.

In September 1936, the Soviets launched the grotesque internal purge known as the "Yezhovshchina," killing a million more of its citizens.  Rodney stayed silent.  Although Jewish, he stayed silent too a few years later when Stalin signed his unholy pact with Hitler.

This sportswriter had a mission.  Staring with the trial of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti a decade earlier, Stalin had assigned his American apparatchiks the task of undermining the idea of America as melting pot. For the Soviet experiment to prevail, the world had to see America through fresh, unblinking eyes as a simmering stew of xenophobic injustice.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Katherine Ann Porter, a Sacco and Vanzetti supporter, came to see the depth of Soviet insincerity while standing vigil on the eve of the pair's execution.  She approached her group leader, a dogmatic Communist, with her hope that the immigrant duo could still be saved.

"Saved," said the communist, "who wants them saved? What earthly good would they do us alive?"

In a similar vein, the last thing Rodney and the Soviets wanted was to see Major League Baseball integrated. After Jackie Robinson broke through the color barrier, after Stalin declared America the glavy vrag, the main enemy, after Stalin's crazed purge of Jewish doctors, right up to and beyond Stalin's death, Rodney kept endorsing the party line and enabling Soviet evil throughout the world.

Let us just hope that the producers at OTL are merely ignorant.