ESPN's Will Cain Stands Out Amid Debate Over Network's Politics
ESPN's Will Cain is a "rising star" whose growing profile "comes amid consistent charges of liberal bias" at the network for its coverage of social and political issues in sports, according to a profile by Ben Strauss of the WASHINGTON POST. With his "conservative bona fides, Cain may offer much-needed intellectual diversity" at a net that "leans left." However, Cain could also be a "sop to conservatives at a network desperate to quiet its critics, including those in the White House." Cain said of working at ESPN, "Has being conservative helped me since I've been here? Of course. ESPN doesn't have a voice like mine." ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said of Cain, "When I look at this topic -- the criticism that we're left-leaning -- my job is to bring on people who have different thoughts. Will is a great example ... I feel like we're pretty balanced right now." But Strauss notes several ESPN staffers "privately expressed" their belief that Cain's "perceived value to ESPN's higher-ups was based on nothing more than his politics." Cain is "sensitive to the critique that he is politics-first." He notes that he arrived at ESPN "before the network" was in President Trump's "crosshairs." Cain said that he has "no place in the current political debate," and although his show "sticks mostly to sports, politics still animate him" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/19).