Trey Gowdy slams the media for abandoning its role as a neutral referee

‘Sunday Night in America’ host reflects on the need for balance in American institutions

“Sunday Night in America” host Trey Gowdy opened his second show on Sunday with a sports metaphor to illustrate the dangerous sentiment overtaking modern political discourse in how the news media is no longer acting as a neutral referee but as a cheerleader for one side. 

Reflecting on a recent NCAA baseball game, Gowdy recalled a feeling of frustration when an umpire made a call he disagreed with, which prompted a surprising reaction from the former congressman.  

“We expect the strike zone to be the same for everyone. That’s what fairness is, the same rules apply equally to everyone,” he said. “A South Carolina batter was called out on a checked swing and it was not a good call, so I began to feel this sense of being treated unfairly, building within me.”

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“Then a South Carolina pitcher has a pitch called a ball that looked like a strike to me and everyone else on the planet, and the sense of being treated unfairly began to build even more,” the host continued.

“A grown man should not be yelling at a TV set over a college baseball game, probably, but the perception of unfairness impacts us. It changes us. It makes us do things we would not ordinarily do,” Gowdy explained. “Being falsely accused or convicted is terrible. So is believing all the calls go against you, and the deck is stacked. I’m sure the umpire was doing the best he could. I’m sure there were some close calls that went our way over the weekend, but in that moment, when I perceived unfairness, the impact was real and it was negative. That’s what the perception of unfairness can do to us.”

He added that both sides of the political aisle feel the system is at times, “rigged” against them.

“But what happens when the perception actually becomes reality? What if the societal referee really is biased?” he asked. “What if the national umpire really is calling it differently for this team than for the other team? If you were to ask half our country what’s the biggest issue we’re facing, as a country, they might say unfairness in economic opportunity, or unfairness in our justice system, and we hear it a lot. We hear about rigged systems and everybody doesn’t play by the same rules. Meanwhile, the other half of the country also believes the system is rigged. “

Gowdy pointed to the liberal bias in the media and at our college campuses. 

“It’s just a different system, rigged by different people. The other half believes it’s the media. It’s higher education. It’s politics that is stacked or rigged or biased against one orthodoxy or ideology. The symptoms are different, but the underlying pathology is the same, and the underlying pathology is a belief that unfairness is pervasive,” he said. “We can handle mistakes. We should not accept a lack of fairness from any institution. The institution which is supposed to be that neutral detached referee is the media. Supposed to be but at least half the country believes the referee is really pulling for the other side.”

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Gowdy said society must demand the “umpire” be fair, or “we could keep trending toward professional wrestling, where there are no rules, there’s no fairness, and the end justifies the means.”

“The outcome is fixed, and it’s all just for entertainment. I’ll settle for baseball, with a fair umpire who treats both sides the same. What I will not accept,” he asserted, “and what I fear, is a political system degrading itself into professional wrestling.”

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