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Since when do snowboarders who are not Olympic medalists show up on Fox Business for extended, three-and-a-half minute interviews? Compared to Shaun White, Jeremy Jones is about as fringe as it gets within snowboarding, so it was a bit of a shock to see him on December 3 talking AK descents on Fox Business.
Action sports athletes are not people that you'd expect to find being featured on a show that has "Stock Alert: Gold Climbs Higher" banners running on the bottom of the screen. Still, just last month Fox featured Freeski heavy Dana Flahr and "X Box Games" winner Tanner Hall. What these athletes all have in common are sport-dominating career stories. They have all put in huge amounts of work, taken calculated risks, survived hardship and come out on top -- a typical synopsis of a executive biography. Still, the interviewers are awkward, and clearly are not comfortable with the subject matter they're asking about. So what gives?
Compared to Flahr, who doesn't have an agent, and was repeatedly asked why he did what he did if he wasn't making a lot of money off of activities that put his life at risk, Jones survived relatively un-harassed.
Fox Business host Charles Payne asked Jones, in reference to one of his sheer AK spine descents, "Did you get knocked on the head, and then you went down?"
"It's a lot like business, it's a really calculated risk," Jones replied in his trademark deadpan calm. "I do a ton of homework, really immerse myself in the mountains ... and am always ready to turn back at a moment's notice."
The focus of Jones' segment was the risk he took dropping his long-time sponsor Rossignol to start his own company, Jones Snowboards, during the country's economic low point, when, according to Payne, many people thought they might "need to be on unemployment for the next three to four years." Jones casually laid out the classic entrepreneur rationale: that he had an accumulated double-decade-plus of industry experience and knew there was a niche that needed to be filled. No one else was doing it, so he decided to do it himself.
Notably absent from the live dialogue was any mention of Protect Our Winters, the non-profit that Jones founded to raise awareness of how climate change is reducing global snowpack levels. While this is not a surprising omission for a media company with a well-documented skeptical view of climate-change, it is interesting to note that Jones claims that, out of all the interviews he's done on the "Deeper" tour, this is the only one that didn't mention POW.
Jones says the Fox interview was less intense than talking to Senators this past January on Capitol Hill in support of now-scuttled climate change legislation. But, Jones adds, "If I was debating climate change with [Fox], that would have been a different story."
For Jones, all the furor over why Fox is featuring "action sports" athletes points to an even bigger problem:
"I was in and out of there in less then an hour and I didn't think much about it--but I got more feedback from five minutes on Fox then any thing else I have done. So it really shows me the power that these so-called 'news' channels have, and it upsets me that one guy with an opinion and a big platform has more power then a lot of our elected officials."