- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Actors and athletes increasingly using their forums for political activism are turning off viewers, according to a newly released poll.

A McLaughlin & Associates/Media Research Center survey released Wednesday found that 44 percent were less likely to watch sports and entertainment shows “because they have become too political.”

In addition, 75 percent said they watch sports and entertainment to escape from politics, and “do not want to be bombarded with partisan political messages.”

The poll of 1,000 likely voters comes with television ratings plummeting in the last year for high-profile sports and entertainment events.

The NFL regular season ratings dropped by 9.7 percent in 2017 amid player protests during the national anthem, while the 2018 Academy Awards show suffered its worst-ever audience ratings, falling by 19 percent from 2017.

“Many people have speculated that it is the liberal politics in sports and entertainment shows that is driving their audiences away. We now have evidence that proves this is true,” said MRC president Brent Bozell.

The March 4 Oscars presentation on ABC featured digs at President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the National Rifle Association, along with shout-outs to illegal immigrants and support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“It is no coincidence that viewership of this year’s Oscars ceremony hit an all-time-low,” said Mr. Bozell. “The NFL and liberal sports networks like ESPN are completely at odds with their viewers’ interests and their ratings reflect it. Perhaps the sports and entertainment industries will finally heed this warning before Americans tune out for good.”

Nearly half, or 47 percent, of respondents who didn’t watch the Oscars said they either were “tired of these shows being full of political statements” or they “knew some of the presenters and winners would use the time to share their political agenda.”

The NFL’s ratings decline has been blamed on the take-a-knee protests as well as factors such as uncompetitive match-ups, poor officiating, and the overall decrease in television audiences as viewers “cut the cord” and turn to other devices for entertainment.

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