On August 21, 2009, the Los Angeles–based radio show World Soccer Daily opened with the usual clanging drums and indecipherable screaming of its rock-and-roll theme song. After a few seconds, the familiar drawl of the show’s founder and co-host, Steven Cohen, cut through the noise. “It’s not a happy Friday,” Cohen said. “Today is the last World Soccer Daily.”
Cohen paused to let his listeners absorb the news. Over the previous seven years, the host’s loud, brash on-air persona had attracted a loyal following of more than 300,000 daily listeners. On that August day, with World Soccer Daily 12th in the iTunes sports podcast charts, he sounded different. The rock music faded to a murmur, and Cohen launched into an unusually subdued monologue.
“Hate wins, anti-Semitism wins, rage wins, and I’m not going to put my job through this kind of firing line anymore,” Cohen said. “This is a country based on freedom of speech, freedom of ideas, freedom of business, freedom of a lot of things, but the hate and the anti-Semitism that has been raging from the Liverpool contingent for the last five months—for me it’s over.”