CBS set to broadcast Masters after encouraging corporations to 'fight' Georgia voting law

‘This is activism, not journalism’: Ari Fleischer slams media response to Georgia voting law

The former White House press secretary discusses Georgia voting law, the MLB All-Star game and the crisis at the border on ‘The Faulkner Focus.’

As it has every year since 1956, CBS will broadcast The Masters golf tournament from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia this coming weekend, leading some to accuse the network of hypocrisy after it encouraged companies to “fight” Georgia’s new election law.

Late Friday, CBS News published a piece initially headlined: “3 ways companies can help fight Georgia’s restrictive new voting law”. In the piece, reporter Khristopher J. Brooks appeared to offer advice on how corporations could put political pressure on Georgia Republicans over the voting reforms

Following criticism of the editorial nature of the writing, CBS quietly changed the article’s headline to read: “Activists are calling on big companies to challenge new voting laws. Here’s what they’re asking for.”

The Georgia law makes a host of sweeping changes to election procedures, plaing some limits and rules on absentee balloting while expanding early voting days. Opponents say the law was only enacted in response to false claims of widespread voter fraud after President Biden won Georgia in 2020. However, fact-checkers have taken issue with brazen “Jim Crow” comparisons by Biden and other Democrats.

Bowing to the liberal furor, Major League Baseball Commisioner Rob Manfred announced Friday that this year’s All-Star Game would not be played at Truist Park, the home of the Atlanta Braces. Georgia-based brands Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines also issued public statements against the law, drawing swift rebukes from Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

MLB’s decision won the support of former President Barack Obama, but some critics wondered whether CBS should elect to pull out of airing the upcoming Masters, Georgia’s most famous sporting event. 

“Let’s not stop there,” media critic and former CNN producer Steve Krakauer tweeted. “How dare CBS air the Masters live from Georgia next week … The Masters must be moved from Georgia and renamed immediately, or CBS must not air it, President Obama can we agree on this?”

Conservative site The Federalist also dinged CBS for looking after its bottom line.

“Despite the article’s warnings to companies headquartered and operating from Georgia not to donate to candidates who supported the election reforms, ‘spread awareness,’ and ‘fight for federal laws’ that would eliminate opportunities for future election adjustments, CBS did not signal any intent to engage in its own state boycott,” the site wrote.

Unusually for a high-level sporting event, Augusta National Golf Club awards CBS the television contract for the Masters on a year-by-year basis for a minimal fee. In a 2015 Golf Digest article, a broadcasting source told the publication that the club could make more than $100 million if the contract was open to a public bidding process.

Biden supported the All-Star Game’s removal from Atlanta, but when asked by Fox News Monday if he would support moving the Masters out of Georgia, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to directly respond.

The Masters is traditionally the first major championship of the golf season and winning the green jacket is arguably the most prized accomplishment in the sport. The tournament is often the most watched golfing event of the year. When Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters in 2019, the final round broadcast averaged nearly 11 million viewers.

Last year’s Masters was delayed from its normal April date until November due to the coronavirus pandemic.


ESPN will air the tournament on Thursday and Friday, and it told Fox News it had no plans to skip coverage in protest of the law. 

“The event is happening and we are televising it. If events warrant we will cover them within our sports news coverage,” ESPN spokesperson Andy Hall told Fox.

CBS did not respond to request for comment from Fox News.

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

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