Mainstream media working overtime to change Redskins name

The logo of the Washington Redskins.

The logo of the Washington Redskins.

The political parties are fighting in D.C., but journalists have decided another essential issue is facing the American public – the name of a football team.

What’s in a name? If it’s the Redskins, “it’s bad karma,” “indefensible” and even “racist,” according to the team’s hometown newspaper The Washington Post. Posties have spent more than 31,000 words in 2013 alone attacking the name. That’s more than seven times the words that are in the U.S. Constitution. (Postie Ezra Klein already finds that document “confusing,” so expect that fight later on.) All this despite the fact that most Americans, and most Native American, aren’t offended by the name.

There have been news stories, sports columns, editorials and even cartoons making it clear that anyone who holds a contrary view is a “BIGOT.” According to the liberal Deciders of All Things, the Washington Redskins have to change their name. In fact, many journalists now treat it like that decision is a given.

Journalists at the Post, USA Today and elsewhere have decided they will no longer mention the name “Redskins” in stories, like the team’s name had Voldemort-like properties.

In recent days, the Post coverage has gone national. President Obama chimed in and said he would “think about changing” the longstanding name if he owned the team. During the Sunday night contest between the Redskins and their Cowboy division rivals, sportscaster Bob Costas let loose saying the name is an ethic attack. “Redskins can’t possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait. Nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent.”

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Costas was just buying into media groupthink like he did on guns. He’s not alone. On Oct. 11, the Post Editorial Board pronounced its judgment: ’Skins owner Dan Snyder “continues to defend the indefensible.”

Post sportswriter/activist Mike Wise even calls the team the “R-word” and took his agenda onto the evening news, because only journos care what journos think. Wise’s vitriol led to him being accused of being racist for his his attack on Zema Williams, also known as the Redskins mascot Chief Zee. “Trying to enlighten [Chief Zee] is like trying to enlighten your half-cocked, old-head uncle who uses racial epithets at Thanksgiving dinner. At some point, you either let him eat or kick him out.” The left is ever so tolerant.

Redskins Owner Dan Snyder has tried the logical defense of his team name, using actual history, not liberal guilt. Here’s the key piece ignored by most crusading media. (Say the media are on the warpath about the name and they will assign a whole tribe of PC monitors to your location. Crusading is merely anti-Christian and approved by major media.)

Snyder wrote: “As some of you may know, our team began 81 years ago -- in 1932 -- with the name ‘Boston Braves.’ The following year, the franchise name was changed to the ‘Boston Redskins.’ On that inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor.”

Still, the campaign against the name has spanned the media spectrum from The New York Times to sports media. The site Bleacher Report raved that even though only 11 percent of the population wants the name changed, that’s enough. “Basically, the entire population of Canada would be offended.”

According to CNN, one University of Montana professor complained about the name, saying “It's just ridiculous." “After 500 years, it's pretty unbelievable that this issue is at the forefront right now," said Jason Begay, “a Navajo who's an assistant professor and director of the Native American Journalism Project at the University of Montana.” Note Begay is yet another media type, providing cover to others in the media.

And that gets to the heart of this fight. It’s not about the name at all. It’s about media thought control. The very liberals who told us that “Piss Christ” was art and inoffensive, now label a sports team name unmentionable.

Let’s be honest. The Redskins represent a tradition the media have decided to end. This is the way in 21st Century America. Journalists no longer bother to find news; they just make it up and then interview each other every time someone like Costas or Wise opens his mouth.

That’s why this isn’t a fight about a name. It’s a fight for freedom – a fight that would make the very people the name honors proud.

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.