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Stephen Smith slaps down co-host after he calls Fox News ‘extreme right wing propaganda’ over Jacob Blake shooting

Sports commentator Stephen Smith rebuked his co-host Max Kellerman after he gave a very one-sided account of the debate over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The pair launched into a fiery debate on their show “First Take” while talking about controversial comments from Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher about the police shooting that inspired rioting and looting. Urlacher claimed in a social media post that Blake had been reaching for a knife when police shot him. While a knife was recovered in the car, it has not been established if Blake was reaching for it when he was shot.

“He’s susceptible to low quality information it seems to me,” said Kellerman of Urlacher.

“If you exist in a Fox News silo or a Facebook silo of extreme right wing propaganda, what you will notice, and by the way this even makes its way into the mainstream. When a Black man is killed by law enforcement, the stories that come out about him, especially with those silos with low quality information, paint him as a very bad person. And focus on, even if he was in commission of a crime at the moment he was shot, focus on the worst aspects of their lives, and dehumanize them,” he explained.

“Whereas Kyle Rittenhouse, white militia, seventeen year old kid, drove to Kenosha and killed two people, in cold blood, two protesters,” Kellerman added, “in cold blood including the second person, who tried to stop him from killing more people, and drove all the way home and was arrested the next day finally, the cops were practically aiding him, they gave him water when they first saw him.”

Kellerman claimed that some of the media was humanizing Rittenhouse, and added that they “do the same to white terrorists, who blow up government buildings and shoot up schools.”

“What you don’t want to do is hear the other point!”

Smith was displeased with Kellerman’s framing of the issue and the debate quickly got heated.

“You know you’ve got to be careful about generalizing. When you talk about low-quality information, you’ve got to be specific about that,” said Smith.

“Excuse me, just like you brought up Fox News,” Smith continued as Kellerman tried to interrupt, “there are people that could look at CNN or MSNBC and they’re going to have their opinions about those networks.”

“No, this is not an issue of opinion, Stephen A,” responded Kellerman. “I’m talking about independent fact-checking organizations and the quality of the information…”

“Max, you’re not right,” interrupted Smith, “Hold on. No, no. We listened to you! We heard you, alright! But the point is do you know that Brian Urlacher got that information from Fox News? Do you know that? How do you know what television network he was watching? That’s the point!”

“No, I didn’t, and I didn’t say he did,” replied Kellerman.

“Don’t even bring it up. Alright then! You said low-quality information, you mentioned Fox News. I watch them all, I watch them all!” said Smith.

“No but I saw certain facts,” continued Kellerman, “certain facts that he was incorrect about, including he reached for the knife, because that’s where it’s framed in low-quality information news silos.”

Part of the debate was circulated on social media:

“Listen, I saw ‘certain facts’ everywhere,” continued Smith. “There are a multitude of outlets, we heard you. See, that’s your problem! Cause you like to talk and then what you don’t want to do is hear the other point, because you want your point to be stuck with everybody.”

Kellerman said that Smith was misrepresenting what he said, and continued decrying Fox News and Facebook.

“I don’t want people doing that on First Take, I don’t want people doing that on First Take! Period!” said Smith.

While ESPN posted more of the segment between Kellerman and Smith on their YouTube account, their video omitted the portion where Smith defended Fox News and other outlets. Similarly, the Twitter version of the exchange omitted Smith’s later comments where he explicitly denounced the police shooting of Blake.

Kellerman made headlines on Thursday when he made similar comments about fans of SEC college football being “easy to propagandize and almost immune to facts,” in regards to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s ESPN excerpted version:


First Take reacts to the Bears disavowing Brian Urlacher following his criticism of NBA protests

www.youtube.com

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Chicago Bears disavow Brian Urlacher after his controversial post on NBA protests, Jacob Blake shooting

The Chicago Bears
denounced former Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher for his stance against the recent NBA protests, which were spurred on by the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

A Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer shot Blake in the back seven times on Sunday following a call for a domestic disturbance.

What are the details?

Urlacher, who played 13 seasons with the Bears from 2000-12 and earned eight Pro Bowl selections, on Thursday
wrote, “Brett Favre played the (Monday Night Football) game the day his dad died, threw 4 TDs in the first half, and was a legend for playing in the face of adversity. NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.”

In a statement to
NBC Sports, the team said, “The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization.”

The team also canceled a Thursday practice in a statement, pointing to Blake’s shooting.

“In the wake of what has taken place in our backyard of Kenosha over the last couple of days, we as a team have a lot on our mind today,” the statement said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We decided to pause our football activities to voice to each other, our coaches and our staff where we stand on the real issues around race and police brutality in our country.

“We had a productive discussion, but we all agreed that talks and discussions are simply not enough anymore and we need action,” the lengthy statement concluded. “We are putting in plans to take action in our communities, and together we believe we can make a real difference. We need action not only today but in the days to come.”

What else?

Matt Forte, one of Urlacher’s former teammates, shared
similar sentiments on Twitter, writing, “The comment [Urlacher] posted is void of empathy, compassion, wisdom and coherence. But full of pride and ignorance! I pray for those who have been blinded by their wealth, privilege and earthly fame that breeds arrogance in their hearts. And those who refuse to acknowledge racism and injustice, but instead choose to place their energy into justifying it by quickly judging the victims [sic] life as if they themselves are more valuable because their sins are different or weren’t caught by man… but God sees all.”

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