MEDIA WATCH: ESPN takes hit over its Rush for ratings

Five weeks into his stint as an ESPN football analyst, conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh started incorporating his polarizing views on race, the media, and politics into his commentary, alienating many viewers by saying the media overrates pro quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is African American. The network was also taken to task for placing ratings above all other considerations and for abandoning Limbaugh when the heat from his comments became too much for it.

Five weeks into his stint as an ESPN football analyst, conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh started incorporating his polarizing views on race, the media, and politics into his commentary, alienating many viewers by saying the media overrates pro quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is African American. The network was also taken to task for placing ratings above all other considerations and for abandoning Limbaugh when the heat from his comments became too much for it.

Most frequent messages: 1. Limbaugh has controversial and divisive views 2. ESPN should have known he'd say something like this 3. Remarks about McNabb were hateful and racist 4. He has the right to free speech and was just sharing an opinion 5. Limbaugh's image has been tainted by the controversy Based on 40 US newspaper, magazine, and TV stories appearing October 2-13, 2003. Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International.

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