NBC Walks Tightrope In Coverage Of Beijing Olympics Amid Diplomatic Boycott from freeamfva's blog

NBC Walks Tightrope In Coverage Of Beijing Olympics Amid Diplomatic Boycott

NBC Sports this week made the not-too-surprising announcement that much of its Beijing Olympics team would be covering next month’s Winter Games from afar, in Stamford, CT, as the Covid pandemic once again disrupts the event.To get more news about beijing olympics 2022, you can visit shine news official website.

But the international outcry over human rights abuses in China, leading to a U.S. diplomatic boycott, has put extra scrutiny on how the network covers the Games, starting with the telecast of the opening ceremonies on February 4, with Mike Tirico hosting from Beijing and Today‘s Savannah Guthrie in the states.

Human rights groups already have called on NBC and other broadcasters to drop plans to carry the Games, and while that was never a likely prospect, network executives said this week they will add two China experts: Andy Browne, former China editor at the Wall Street Journal and now editorial director of Bloomberg New Economy, as well as Jing Tsu, a cultural historian who is Yale professor of China studies.
Our coverage will provide perspective on China’s place in the world and the geopolitical context in which these Games are being held,” said Molly Solomon, president, NBC Olympics Production, in a presentation last week in which she was interviewed by Tirico. “But the athletes do remain the centerpiece of our coverage.”

Solomon told Tirico that NBC News, with a bureau in China, will be on site to “cover the news in China,” and that they have covered issues at the Games in the past. “And most recently, we covered Covid and the athlete protests in Tokyo,” she said. The news division has yet to announce its plans but its correspondents have been reporting on the human rights situation for years.

The U.S. boycott is tied to China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity” against the minority Uyghur population in Xinjiang. Last fall, a coalition of 200 human rights groups called on media outlets around the world to cancel their broadcast plans. “All of your companies are at serious risk of being complicit in China’s plan to ‘sport wash’ the severe and worsening human rights abuses and embolden the actions of the Chinese authorities,” they wrote in the letter. Mandie McKeown, a spokesperson for the group, said that they have not received a response.

Andrew Zimbalist, economics professor at Smith College and author of several books on the business behind the Olympics, says that NBC is in “an impossible situation” in carrying a major sporting event amid international human rights concerns. He said that there is the question of how many people will watch, and prospect of having to do “make goods” if ratings fall below guarantees to advertisers. Given the controversies that have beset recent Games there is also the long-term concern of more companies being reluctant to sign on as sponsors to the Olympics in general, he said.
There is not much [NBC] can do about it, frankly,” Zimbalist said. “… All they can do is try, in a subtle way, without offending the Chinese too much, is to have a few news stories about it. They are between a rock and a hard place.”

If the past is any guide, the most scrutiny will be paid to the opening ceremonies, which in any Games are a pageantry of propaganda for the host country. Back in 2008, when Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics, the opening ceremonies were lauded as a “wow” display and spectacle like no other, under the unifying slogan of “One World, One Dream.”

As Browne wrote in a recent column, now Chinese President Xi Jinping “boasts that ‘the East is rising and the West is declining.’ “

“This newfound assertiveness has provoked precisely the response that the 2008 Games were intended to avoid: Pew surveys show views of China are at historic lows both in the West and among China’s Asian neighbors. But now Beijing doesn’t seem to care,” Browne wrote.

Previous post     
     Next post
     Blog home

The Wall

No comments
You need to sign in to comment