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NewsBusted: The Gwinn File

NewsBusters blogger Dylan Gwinn not only writes about sports, he pushes homophobia and gets things spectacularly wrong.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 3/29/2016


Dylan Gwinn

Dylan Gwinn is a lower-tier sports talker, co-host of a radio show in Houston. He also wrote a book, the Regnery-published "Bias in the Booth," that whined so badly about alleged liberal bias in sports journalism that the Columbia Journalism review dismissed thusly: "This book is not worth your time. This book is very dumb. This book exposes nothing except its author’s own rhetorical limitations. A keening, bitter catalog of slights and allegations of willful journalistic malpractice, 'Bias in the Booth' is less an analysis than a screed, reliant on ad hominem attacks, suppositions, and generalizations in its bid to document the purported liberal bias of American sports media."

Needless to say, this makes him an ideal blogger for NewsBusters. And since early 2015, he's been using his perch to combine sports with the right-wing obsessions of bashing liberals and gays.

One of Gwinn's early posts rehashes the old right-wing meme about dismissing Hillary Clinton's professed love of the New York Yankees as "shameless pandering" by "a calculating, machine-politician born in Illinois, schooled in Massachusetts and Connecticut and living most of her adult life in Arkansas and Washington, D.C." to get elected to a New York Senate seat, "despite her growing up in the Chicago suburbs and the existence of photographic evidence of Mrs. Clinton proudly sporting a Chicago Cubs hat on at least two occasions."

Apparently Gwinn has never heard that a person can be a fan of more than one baseball team, especially if the two teams are in different leagues. As Hillary herself explained: "I am a Cubs fan. But I needed an American League team . . . so as a young girl, I became very interested and enamored of the Yankees."

This won't be the last time Gwinn ignores facts that interfere with his shameless right-wing pandering.

Gwinn used an Aug. 25 post to defend ex-baseball player Curt Schilling's tweet likening Muslims to Nazis (he claimed the number of "extremists" among Muslims are similar to the number of Germans who were Nazis), which earned Schilling a suspension from ESPN:

Schilling may understand the reasons for his suspension. Yet, they remain a mystery to me. There is nothing factually inaccurate with the message of the tweet. It in no way compares “Muslims” to Nazis. It compares the number of Muslim “extremists” to the number of German extremists, with the point being that whether you accept the math or not, extremists need not have a numerical majority in any one country or religion in order to take control, and create catastrophic results for the rest of the world.

Which, is absolutely true.

Actually, it's not -- both Schilling and Gwinn got it wrong. As Vox explains: "Muslims are by far the number-one victims of extremist groups such as ISIS: They are the most likely to be killed by ISIS, and they are the most likely to actively fight ISIS. Nazi-era Germans, on the other hand, overwhelmingly supported and fought for the Nazi regime. So in fact the relationship between Nazi-era Germans and Nazi crimes is the exact opposite of the relationship between Muslims and ISIS."

Nevertheless, Gwinn concluded his post by writing, "But of course, truth is always the first casualty." Only in his work.

Dylan Gwinn chipped in on the right-wing idea that focus on the concussion-caused brain-damaging condition known as CTE among NFL players is a "liberal media" conspiracy with a Dec. 14 post attacking sportscaster Bob Costas for pointing out any purported "war on football" is likely unsuccessful given the huge popularity of the sport and the NFL's billions. Gwinn then ranted that not even the doctor who discovered CTE, Bennet Omalu (whose name he can't spell correctly) is qualified to speak about it:

Of course the problem with all this is that at this point no one, not Bennett Omalu, not me, not you, and certainly not the NFL, is qualified to make any qualifying statement about what we do or don’t know about CTE.

For example, the man who Dr. Omalu considers to be his mentor, Dr. Julian Bailes disagrees with Omalu about the dangers posed by football to kids under the age of 18. Bailes believes football is safer than ever and even has two children who play. He also casts doubt on the “prevalence of CTE,” acknowledging that it’s only been diagnosed in “about 100 players” out of “tens of thousands who have played.”

Now, maybe Omalu is right and Bailes is wrong. Fine. But, when you can’t even get a consensus among the two scientists who discovered CTE about what it does and doesn’t do to kids, this whole idea of concussions and CTE being “settled science” becomes absurd.

The reason why the NFL was willing to “settle” it in court is because the NFL has almost as much money as God, and hates negative PR. They didn’t settle because of science, they settled because it was cheaper to pay the players off and get the story off the front page than it was to drag it out and fight it out in public.

Gwinn ignores the fact that CTE can only be positively diagnosed post-mortem. And he seems to want to conflate a dispute about whether football is safe for children to one about whether CTE actually exists.

Gay-bashing

Gwinn devoted an Aug. 15 post to gloating that openly gay pro football player Michael Sam was taking a break from his Canadian Football League career for mental health reasons. Commence the gloating:

No, the sports media didn’t make Sam a slow, “tweener,” and a bad scheme fit for an NFL defense. It was more sinister than that. They made him unlikeable. In their zeal to turn Sam into the gay Jackie Robinson, they made him arrogant. They took a likeable kid and made him a diva with the sense of entitlement that drives NFL-types nuts.

If the New York Times had been honest about where Sam stood in the draft, as opposed to saying he was “projected to be drafted in the early rounds,” something no scout worth anything believed, then maybe the sense of entitlement that turned NFL scouts off at the Veterans Combine wouldn’t have set in. If Sam hadn’t been told he was making “incredibly brave decisions” and “breaking longstanding barriers,” the arrogance might not have taken root. Perhaps if ESPN hadn’t shown Sam kissing his boyfriend on a loop for 87 hours, Sam would have seen himself as more football player than gay man.

[...]

America’s first openly gay football player was always more of an LGBT activist than he was a football player. Now, he’s just one of those things.

A couple days later, Gwinn got to lean on his berserk button again over the news that a minor-league baseball player had come out:

In a stunning coincidence of epic proportions that no one could have possibly seen coming, ESPN has found another gay professional athlete less than three days after Michael Sam’s announcement that he is walking away from football. This most recent out-of-the-closet jock comes to us by way of baseball. David Denson, a minor league first baseman in the Brewers organization, recently came out to his teammates, a process he explained in the ESPN article:

[...]

Could that be the reason why Denson decided to come out, believing that his announcement would make it politically impossible for the Brewers to release him? I have no idea. But how many minor league first basemen get articles in ... Slate? And there’s precedent for that. Remember that the NFL called several teams, urging them to sign Michael Sam after the Rams cut him, to prevent a media/PR backlash.

Is it too far-fetched to believe Denson would want to repeat that recent history now?

I wish it was.

Is it too far-fetched to believe that Gwinn is such a homophobe that he roots for the failure of athletes who do not share his sexual orientation? We wish it was.

Non-sports fail

Perhaps Gwinn should stick to his sports, because he's even worse when he ventures off that reservation.

Gwinn devoted an Aug. 17 NewsBusters post to whining about a since-deleted tweet by "billionaire lib" Mark Cuban defending Planned Parenthood over factually dubious attacks by Republican Ben Carson:

The limousine liberal Cuban might as well have deleted the tweet and distanced himself from the link, because the NPR piece made an atrociously disingenuous defense of Sanger and Planned Parenthood. After identifying Sanger as a member of the eugenics movement – a movement dedicated to ensuring that poor and poorly educated people did not reproduce – NPR described Sanger as “paternalistic” towards blacks, not necessarily racist.

The piece cites an article Sanger wrote in 1946 about “... giving ‘Negro’ parents a choice in how many children they would have.”

“The Negro race has reached a place in its history when every possible effort should be made to have every Negro child count as a valuable contribution to the future of America,” she wrote. “Negro parents, like all parents, must create the next generation from strength, not from weakness; from health, not from despair.”

Hmm, if it’s important for “all parents” to only reproduce only from strength and never from weakness, then why did Sanger feel it necessary to pen a letter specifically referencing black people?
If Gwinn had bothered to closely read the NPR fact-check he cites in his mindless bashing of Cuban, he would have noticed that the 1946 Sanger piece on Negroes appeared in a publication called the Negro Digest. If Wikipedia is to be believed, the Negro Digest "was similar to the Reader's Digest but aimed to cover positive stories about the African-American community."

In other words, Sanger was "specifically referencing black people" because she was writing for a publication targeted at black people. So much for Gwinn's sinister racist conspiracy theory.

Gwinn then added, "And NPR failed to mention Sanger’s characterization of blacks as 'human weeds.'" He doesn't explain that's because there's no evidence Sanger ever actually said such a thing.

Gwinn's link to back the claim up is to an anti-abortion website that claims this statement came from Sanger's "The Pivot of Civilization." In fact, the term "human weeds" appears nowhere in the book.

Then Gwinn went totally contradictory:

The fact check referenced a report from the Guttmacher Institute, which stated that 60 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are actually in majority white neighborhoods, as opposed to black, which would seem to refute one element of what Carson said. But Guttmacher was once the research arm of Planned Parenthood, and it is explicitly pro-abortion. According to an interactive map created by the pro-life group Protecting Black Life, “79% of [Planned Parenthood’s] surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods.”

But if we shouldn't trust the Guttmacher Institute because it's "explicitly pro-abortion," shouldn't we (and Gwinn) similarly distrust Protecting Black Life because it's explicitly anti-abortion?

Actually, there's a good reason we shouldn't trust Protecting Black Life's map: Its definition of "within walking distance" is an overly generous one -- two miles -- and many of those black and Latino neighborhoods appear to be on the far fringe of that radius.

Gwinn followed that up by getting really stupid:

Billionaire libs like Mark Cuban are so busy trying to take shots at Republicans, while making themselves appear to be so enlightened, that they miss both forest and tree. Abortion is phasing black people out in cities and states all over the country. Only when reactionary libs like Cuban start caring more about that than scoring points with other reactionary libs on twitter can we say that all black lives matter.

Actually, the black fertility rate is currently hovering around 2.0, which is effectively the replacement rate, meaning that the black population in the U.S. is steady, not that "abortion is phasing black people out."

If Gwinn really thinks black lives matter, he might want to try and do something about the black infant mortality rate, which is more than double that of whites and Hispanics and has nothing to do with abortion.

Alas, those black lives probably don't matter to Gwinn since he can't reduce them to a sound bite-friendly right-wing talking point.

Gwinn displayed more medical ignorance in a March 21 post ranting about a TV show that broached the subject of the morning-after pill Plan B, which he declares is "killing a baby":

The lie, of course, is that Plan B is not killing a baby.

Despite what pro-Plan B/pro-abortion activists will claim, Plan B alters the endometrium, preventing the fertilized egg from attaching to the woman’s womb. Thus, basically starving the egg from getting the vital nutrients it needs to survive.

Gwinn seems not to know the difference between a fertilized egg and a fully-formed baby, which he suggests is being "killed" by the taking of said pill.

Also, he doesn't know how Plan B typically works. As the National Catholic Reporter points out, the main way it works is as a contraceptive -- that is, by preventing fertilization in the first place. And despite Gwinn's certainty on the subject (his source is an anti-abortion website), it's unclear whether Plan B actually alters the endometrium in a way that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting. Medical experts have noted if that actually occurred, the pill's success rate would be higher.

Further, it's believed that between 60 and 80 percent of fertilized eggs never implant, meaning that a lot of "babies" are already being "killed" through natural processes (or by God, whichever you prefer).

Will Gwinn get similarly upset by that? Probably at the same time he gets upset about the black infant mortality rate.

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