I have been incredibly intrigued by Dave Portnoy and his unwavering commitment to remaining bold, brazen, honest and transparent, despite considerable criticism and asinine attempts to destroy his personal and professional credibility. The journey of the relentlessly hardworking Dave Portnoy is one that many don’t know or don’t care to research because it doesn’t fit the narrative that has been built to paint an image of a misogynistic, toxic suit that founded Barstool Sports.
The truth, however, couldn’t be further from the baseless media claims and unsubstantiated allegations, aimed to discredit the empire Portnoy has built and the tangible impactful change he has made.
Though I have not had the privilege of personally crossing paths with Portnoy yet, I did have the opportunity to speak with the incredibly talented Kayce Smith last year who talked about the real Barstool and why it’s an environment she feels so grateful to call home.
“A lot of times when people say they hate Barstool, I can guarantee they’ve never actually consumed what we do. Oh and also, as a woman in this company, I feel very safe and have never been treated better. So that whole ‘Barstool treats their women employees poorly’ narrative is just flat out incorrect.” Smith shared with me.
“I’ve never had more freedom to create content AND been treated with more respect than I have here.”
Portnoy never ceases to amaze me as one of the most unique, dedicated and fearless creators in the ever changing world of media. The man hasn’t taken a vacation day in ten years.
As a founder of a small business himself, Portnoy understood what was at risk for so many other business owners around the country when the stringent COVID restrictions were imposed. Portnoy said he couldn’t understand not letting business owners control their own destiny, but as so many small businesses were struggling to make ends meet with no help from official channels, Dave decided to put his money where his mouth was, starting the Barstool Fund and putting $500,000 of his own money toward the cause which was designed to help keep the lights on for small businesses who were suffering, nationwide. This massive undertaking that Portnoy put into play proved that fortune favors the bold. That decision helped raise $39,325,493 dollars. Current and former athletes, celebrities and entrepreneurs made donations to The Barstool Fund, including Pat McAfee at $200,000, Kid Rock with $100,000, Dana White, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers with $500,000 and Elon Musk as well. Every dollar was used to help businesses get on their feet after a national crisis. One of those businesses helped by the The Barstool Fund is in my hometown in Durham, North Carolina, Zweli’s.
The latest campaign Portnoy has become an integral part of involves passing legislation in Connecticut. He’s aiming to turn New Haven, Connecticut, into the unequivocal pizza capital of the US. Having lived and worked in this market, I concur wholeheartedly. Portnoy’s expert analysis came from hundreds of pizza reviews on the One Bite YouTube Channel, amassing 148,119,726 views and reviewing hundreds of pizzas in a little over two years. Barstool has also launched the One Bite By Barstool Sports App that currently has earned a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars within the Apple App Store. Portnoy being Portnoy, naturally continued to share his findings championing change as Connecticut H.B. No. 5656, initially proposed by Colin Caplan, an act designating pizza as the state food of Connecticut, garnered more support. State Rep. Devin Carney specifically acknowledged Portnoy on the floor prior to the vote as he said, “I just want to say: One Bite, Everybody Knows The Rules. And El Pres, Dave Portnoy, who’s probably the pizza expert of the world, said that New Haven has the best pizza, so if he says it, then it’s true. Let’s vote for this.”
H.B. No. 5656, An Act Designating Pizza As The State Food’s goal “to recognize the contribution of pizza to the state’s cuisine and economy by designating it as the state food” passed May 12, 2021 with a 131-9 vote in the Connecticut state House of Representatives, heading to the Connecticut State Senate where it’s “favorable report” has been added to the calendar as of May 14, 2021.
Portnoy has affected change and helped so many through his career and at the young age of 44, the question has to be asked—does Dave Portnoy, El Presidente, have a future in politics?
Tucker Carlson asked Portnoy that very question on Fox Nation on May 10th to which Portnoy spoke candidly and honestly, as always.
“I would never do that because you can’t get anything done.” Portnoy shared with Carlson.
“It’s fairly disgusting in my mind that the government didn’t do something, far earlier, since it took me 24 hours to come up with this concept, put it into motion and go. Everyone should want to help small businesses.”
As a guest of Ben Shapiro’s Show, Portnoy described the origins of Barstool describing the evolution of the empire that is now Barstool Sports, which began as a sports gambling newspaper that he handed out at 4am outside of subway stations in Boston.
“There was this opening, this window basically, for a different type of voice to reach sports fans and I thought that we could fill it with Barstool.”
“I have no problem with politics being involved with sports, at some level. I am a libertarian. That’s exactly what I am. Socially liberal, financially conservative. That’s where I land.” Portnoy told Shapiro.
“Join the club.” Shapiro replied on his hour long The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special Episode 113. The interview has 771,581 views in just over a month.
One of the replies on the episode that really stood out was written by a Marine, Steve, who shared what Barstool meant to him.
“The year Barstool started was the year after I joined the Marine Corps. My buddies used to send me the Barstool print in care packages when I was in Iraq. I wish I could remember the first issue I got. When I got out of the Corps, I remembered seeing Barstool papers all over Boston. It’s great to see how far they’ve gone. Also, I work in the Boston area. After the marathon bombing, Portnoy stepped up and did a lot for our communities and those affected. He’s also done so much for small businesses during this pandemic, but his critics still try to throw shade at him. Portnoy is a true American and I’m happy to say he’s also a Bostonian. Thanks El Pres for your brand, and all that you’ve given people.. Viva La Barstool!”
A comment from someone who bravely served our country expressing his support for Barstool and sharing how the brand has impacted his life as a U.S. Marine shows the deep connection Barstool has with its millions of fans.
“What does the future look like? Not just for Barstool but for you?” Shapiro asks Portnoy.
“I think one of the things that makes Barstool Barstool is we won’t be set in our ways and we’ll adapt quick. And, for me personally, I’m super focused on getting Barstool and the gambling thing going and just continuing to find talent and make Barstool relevant.”
“I think the biggest compliment someone gave Barstool is that we’ve been cutting-edge, cool and relevant for almost two decades. There aren’t too many brands who can maintain that vibe but we have for two decades.” Portnoy shared with Shapiro.
As far as another two decades of cutting-edge innovation and content from Portnoy and Barstool Sports? I definitely wouldn’t bet against them.
“I know our character and our intent has always been to make people laugh, period.”
It’s Not a Vaccine Mandate, It’s a Test Mandate
“Chuck Todd from Meet The Press, the New York Times, CNN, numerous other media outlets and even the White House spokesman have called Biden’s policy a vaccine mandate. It’s not. So, why do they keep reporting it as such?”
I feel I must disclose my feelings on Covid-19 before my column this week so everyone knows my bias.
If you want to take the horse dewormer medicine, Ivermectin, for Covid-19, I DON’T CARE.
If you want to wear a mask in a crowd indoors or out, I DON’T CARE
If you don’t want to get a Covid-19 vaccine, again, I DON’T CARE.
In terms of full disclosure, I have been vaccinated. As far as I know, I haven’t had Covid-19, and only my dog has had some form of Ivermectin.
With that out of the way, can we talk about how President Biden’s mandate is being discussed and reported on? This is not a liberal or conservative issue, and it’s not a CNN vs FOX News issue. Most everyone has an opinion on it, yet most don’t care to find out what was actually proposed. Even the White House is misleading folks with its own policy.
This is not a vaccine mandate, it’s a test mandate.
President Biden’s policy has made two changes. All federal workers must receive a vaccine. You don’t have to work for the federal government, but if you do, you must be vaccinated. Again, not a mandate. No one is forcing you to work for the federal government. That’s your choice.
Delta Airlines implemented a policy charging employees $200 if they choose not to be vaccinated. As a result, thousands have received the Covid-19 vaccine to avoid the penalty. That is their choice.
Schools, public and private universities, hospitals, and companies big and small have made similar rules. If you want to work or attend, you must get a vaccine. Not a vaccine mandate, big difference.
Companies make all sorts of rules, some smart, some dumb. I know a radio station that will not let their on-air hosts talk to the media (dumb). My company policy says, I can’t eat food in the studio (smart). You can agree or disagree with a policy, and if you choose not to follow it, that is your choice. Nobody from the government is going to come to your home, hold you down, and jab a needle in your arm. Yet I’ve heard that said a few hundred times in the last few weeks.
Part two of President Biden’s policy says that if you are a company with over 100 employees, your employees will be required to have a vaccine or get tested weekly to see if they are Covid-19 positive. Again, this is not a vaccine mandate. It’s just a test, once a week. A test mandate, if you will.
Chuck Todd from Meet The Press, the New York Times, CNN, numerous other media outlets and even the White House spokesman have called Biden’s policy a vaccine mandate. It’s not. So, why do they keep reporting it as such?
I talk to neighbors, callers, and friends, and they’re all arguing over something that isn’t happening. Some have gotten really angry and stood defiant. They will not, under any circumstances, be forced to get a vaccine.
“How about a test?”
These are crazy times. We talk past each other, we debate our own set of facts, we get to choose the news we like, and disregard and disqualify the news we don’t. I’m afraid we have crossed some type of rubicon. Everyone is arguing and debating a policy but nobody knows the actual policy.
If you think taking a test to find out if you have a life threatening virus that could harm you, a family member, or a coworker is government overreach, I DON’T CARE. Quite frankly, I’m exhausted by the screaming. But if you are going to argue about it, you should do yourself a favor and know what the policy is before you decide you are for it or against it.
Few Media Outlets Were Brave Enough to #NeverForget Both Sides
Saturday marked 20 years since Sept. 11, 2001.
Everyone has a 9/11 story. Where they were. How they reacted. What they remember about that treacherous day in America.
Consuming media coverage and memorials over the weekend, there was one very common theme.
Unity. Unofficially the word was said 42,365,789 times this weekend.
Listening to the radio, I heard one newstalk host romanticize about how the entire country came together as one, and he didn’t feel we did the same fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before the NFL kicked off on Sunday, both Fox and CBS aired extended memorial video montages. The New York Yankees and New York Mets played the Subway Series and on Saturday wore hats representing the Fire and Police Departments of their city.
Netflix, Hulu and Peacock dropped streaming documentaries.
All of this coverage focused on the heroism, the devastation that destroyed 2,996 families, and the unified aftermath. Stats were dropped about the sales of United States flags hitting all-time highs. The patriotic shirt and bumper stickers industry was booming for months.
Let’s be clear – this aforementioned coverage was extremely important.
The following might be controversial, so I unfortunately feel obligated to include the following disclaimer:
I think 9/11 memorial coverage is necessary. #NeverForget is important. I’ve often thought that we don’t talk enough Pearl Harbor where 2,403 Americans also died, maybe that’s a generational coverage thing. So, in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, we should keep these stories prominent and always celebrate the heroes of that harrowing day.
Now that my stance on 9/11 coverage is very very clear…
We should also talk more about the racist hate-crime filled society we created for Muslims, Arabic speaking Americans, Sikhs, and anyone who appeared middle eastern or had dark brown skin. We should also never forget those innocent people whose lives were extremely affected during the aftermath.
Their stories are important. Acknowledging the ugliness can assist in learning from those mistakes.
Although the coverage wasn’t front page, there were news outlets brave enough to hit on those topics over the weekend. I wanted to take time to highlight them, quoting some excerpts that may be tough to read:
Anita Snow and Noreen Nasir of Associated Press for ABC News: “Sikh entrepreneur Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed at his Arizona gas station four days after the Sept. 11 attacks by a man who declared he was “going to go out and shoot some towel-heads” and mistook him for an Arab Muslim.”
Kiara Alfonseca for ABC News: “Mosques were burned or destroyed and death threats and harassment followed many Muslims in the weeks following the attacks, according to congressional testimony from the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2011. Some victims were beaten, attacked or held at gunpoint for merely being perceived as Muslim, the organization said.”
“But, you know, as often as you will speak to other Muslim and millennials especially, they feel like we feel like we’ve had to answer for the crimes of other people,” Warsi said.
He says linking the Islamic faith with these attacks was damaging mentally and physically.
“I myself have been discriminated against been a victim to hate crime with physical assault, just because I’m Muslim,” Warsi said.
Dorothy Hastings for PBS: “Since 2001, Muslims have been the second most frequent target for religiously motivated hate crimes, according to the federal hate crime data.”
Newstalk program directors, news directors and journalists should always strive to tell both sides of the story. It’s not the feel-good unified story, but nothing about journalism is easy. The industry isn’t for propaganda.
There are tough truths that need to be told. It’s part of the job.
The stories are important. The coverage is necessary.
The Weather Channel Was Go To Outlet for Hurricane Ida Coverage
The three major cable news outlets were surprisingly slow in covering Hurricane Ida, despite most of their offices located in New York City.
Hurricane Ida continued to wreak havoc on Wednesday, Sep. 1, as the storm that rocked Louisiana the previous weekend unleashed its fury upon the northeast.
The Weather Channel was the primary outlet for Ida coverage. Here was their ratings track as the storm reached New Jersey and New York that evening, according to Nielsen Media Research:
- 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET: 0.391 million viewers; 158,000 adults 25-54
- 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET: 0.461 million viewers; 154,000 adults 25-54
- 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET: 0.348 million viewers; 111,000 adults 25-54
- 11:00 p.m.-midnight ET: 0.269 million viewers; 100,000 adults 25-54
- midnight-1:00 a.m. ET: 0.230 million viewers; 72,000 adults 25-54
- 1:00-2:00 a.m. ET: 0.198 million viewers; 63,000 adults 25-54
3.15 inches of rain fell in Central Park from 8:51-9:51 p.m. ET — the largest amount of rainfall there within a one-hour period on record, a mark previously set just eleven days prior (Aug. 21) by the effects of Hurricane Henri’s storm (1.94 inches). 8.4 inches fell in Newark, New Jersey throughout the entire evening. Over 50 people in the northeast perished due to Ida.
The three major cable news outlets were surprisingly slow in covering Hurricane Ida, despite most of their offices located in New York City. Fox News Channel provided 10-minute special reports in the overnight of late Sep. 1/early Sep. 2:
- 1:00-1:10 a.m. ET: 0.875 million viewers; 213,000 adults 25-54
- 2:00-2:11 a.m. ET: 0.692 million viewers; 166,000 adults 25-54
- 3:00-3:08 a.m. ET: 0.526 million viewers; 129,000 adults 25-54
CNN’s “Newsroom Live” began at 2 a.m. ET, reporting on Hurricane Ida. It averaged 411,000 viewers and 128,000 adults 25-54 for the hour.
On the following morning of Thursday, Sep. 2, the governors of New Jersey (Phil Murphy) and New York (Kathy Hochul) held separate press conferences addressing the aftermath of Ida. Fox News, averaging 1.6 million total viewers and 265,000 in the 25-54 demo from 10-11 a.m. ET, aired most of these conferences until bailing on them when the topic of climate change was mentioned.
CNN (967,000 viewers/228,000 adults 25-54 from 10-11 a.m. ET) and MSNBC (Murphy: 843,000 viewers/90,000 adults 25-54 from 10:19-10:38 a.m. ET; Hochul: 778,000 viewers/86,000 adults 25-54 from 10:38-11:12 a.m. ET) both aired the Murphy and Hochul press conferences in full.
Here are the cable news averages for August 30-September 5, 2021.
Total Day (August 30-September 5 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.548 million viewers; 259,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.744 million viewers; 84,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.653 million viewers; 145,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.247 million viewers; 57,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.201 million viewers; 61,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.145 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.140 million viewers; 20,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.096 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (August 30-September 4 @ 8-11 p.m.; September 5 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 2.642 million viewers; 434,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 1.260 million viewers; 145,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.876 million viewers; 202,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.259 million viewers; 72,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.218 million viewers; 62,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.199 million viewers; 60,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.163 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.054 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC, CNN and The Weather Channel programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.312 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.130 million viewers
3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.846 million viewers
4. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.841 million viewers
5. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.620 million viewers
6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.519 million viewers
7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.506 million viewers
8. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.489 million viewers
9. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.393 million viewers
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/2/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.317 million viewers
19. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.763 million viewers
125. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.199 million viewers
190. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.909 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC, CNN and The Weather Channel programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:
1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.778 million adults 25-54
2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.667 million adults 25-54
3. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.667 million adults 25-54
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.654 million adults 25-54
5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.634 million adults 25-54
6. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.613 million adults 25-54
7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/2/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.574 million adults 25-54
8. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.569 million adults 25-54
9. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.564 million adults 25-54
10. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.552 million adults 25-54
32. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.367 million adults 25-54
71. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.282 million adults 25-54
87. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.253 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
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