The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie on May 26, the third tie in a row, which was the hot topic on a May 27 Fox News panel discussion (video below).
After 39 rounds, there were two winners: Nihar Janga, 11, and Jairam Hathwar, 13, USA TODAY reports. The audience applauded and the boys celebrated.
Fox News host Charles Payne introduced the segment with a sense of disbelief:
Look at these kids, right, you'd think they were on the same team, but they were actually competing against each other for hours last night at the National Spelling Bee contest.
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It was a dramatic night, back and forth competition, ending in a tie for the third year in a row. And while the debate on social media started almost immediately, critics [are] blasting the fact that there was no winner after all of the build-up.
Panelist Emily Jashinsky said, "We first have to congratulate these students, they're incredibly intelligent kids here, but come on what kind of message does this send?"
Jashinsky suddenly switched gears to protests at the University of Missouri in 2015 and California State University-Los Angeles in 2016.
"You can make a direct connection between what we were taught when we were kids, that our feelings trump reality and the sting of defeat is not as important as our feelings, and what’s happening on college campuses right now," Jashinsky stated. "It's having a real impact on our society, I don't like the message this is sending."
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It's not clear how the National Spelling Bee was tied to college protests or Jashinsky's assertions about her generation.
However, the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative group Jashinsky works for, recently filed a lawsuit against faculty members and the president of California State University-Los Angeles. The lawsuit claims a speaker invited by the YAF was interrupted by the protests on Feb. 25, which Jashinsky mentioned on the panel, Mediaite notes.
Payne then asked Kristen Haglund if she "would have been cool with a tie" when she won the Miss America beauty contest in 2008.
Haglund said she agreed with Payne and Jashinsky philosophically regarding tied competitions, which have been happening for longer than any of the panelists have been alive.
Haglund talked about how Scripps has made the National Spelling Bee more difficult, and added:
I think that we should be celebrating the fact that we have such amazing talent here. They went from thousands of students to 284 that made it to Washington down to two.
So this is far from giving every kid a trophy. There were literally thousands of losers and they couldn’t stump these two guys, so I think we should be applauding them.
"Someone should have won this thing," Payne opined. "If you have a great second place trophy, that's fine, but I think they should have gone on until there was a winner."
Jashinsky said the tie may have cheapened the competition, and lamented how disappointed the co-winners are going to be later on in life.
Payne then switched the topic to "participation trophies," which is not what the co-champions at the National Spelling Bee won.
Haglund lamented how a lack of competitive skills was going to hamper young people from obtaining jobs, starting their own business, getting venture capital funds or even moving out of their parent's homes.
Payne then switched the topic again to the U.S. which he said was "stuck in neutral," and bashed Millennials, a group he described as having an entitlement mentality.
Jashinsky moved the topic again to protests on college campuses, calling them "absolutely ridiculous."
Payne concluded the panel by lecturing about how people cannot become real winners until they learn how to lose gracefully, which is what the Spelling Bee champs appeared to be doing in the opening part of the segment.