Monday, February 07, 2022

Media Snivels Before China During Olympics

By Deanna Fisher | Victory Girls

Featured image: Scazon on Flickr, cropped, Attribution 2.0 Generic

The Beijing Olympics have begun, and no one but the media apparently cares about it.

NBC, which has exclusive rights to the Olympics, started their coverage off with outright simpering and sucking up to the Chinese Communist Party. As Kim noted here, an Uyghur athlete was chosen by China to light the Olympic torch during the opening ceremonies. Savannah Guthrie of NBC’s Today show called it an “in your face response” from Xi Jinping to the West. Does she HEAR herself???

Today show coanchor Savannah Guthrie provided credulous commentary on the (alleged) selection of a Uyghur athlete from Xinjiang province to light the Olympic torch.”

“This moment is quite provocative. It’s a statement from the Chinese president Xi Jinping,” said Guthrie. “It is an in-your-face response to those Western nations, including the U.S., who have called this Chinese treatment of [Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang] genocide and diplomatically boycotted these games.”

The video of Guthrie saying this was yanked off Twitter due to NBC claiming copyright issues, but can be seen and heard embedded in this video.

It’s truly gross to hear an American media figure talk of Xi Jinping as pulling off some kind of power flex by choosing a Uyghur athlete to light the torch. Here’s a question for Savannah Guthrie – did this athlete have ANY CHOICE in the matter? This is the same country, after all, that “disappeared” tennis player Peng Shuai until she was put out to do her propaganda videos. Why would any responsible media simply take China’s actions at face value?

Oh, that’s right. Money and access. My bad, I forgot. And moral equivalency is the name of the game at Disney-owned ESPN. After all, the United States has problems – why should we be throwing stones at China for genocide and ethnic cleansing?

During Friday’s “Around the Horn,” host Tony Reali kicked off the conversation highlighting the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing as the CCP commits genocide of the Uyghur Muslims, asking J.A. Adande, the director of sports journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, “As a fan and as a reporter, how do you reconcile enjoying this competition” while such abuses by China are taking place.”

“I think it’s standard in sports right now- you have to have a cognitive dissonance. You need to compartmentalize,” Adande responded. “We’ve never had a more enjoyable NFL Playoffs in this country and we’ve never had more people watching the playoffs, and yet it goes on amid the ongoing allegations against Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Football Team, and, you know, the continuous concussion concerns, and now the concerns about diversity in the allegations and questions about competitive integrity even, all of that, and yet we’re still enjoying the games.”

“And who are we to criticize China’s human rights records when we have ongoing attacks by the agents of the state against unarmed citizens and we’ve got assaults on the voting rights of our people of color in various states in this country. So sports – I think it is possible and it’s necessary more than ever to just shut everything out if you are to enjoy the actual games themselves,” Adande told Reali.”

I don’t think Xi Jinping could have said it better than Adande did. Will ESPN or Disney decline to put Adande back on the air as a guest because of his sucking up to Communist Chinese policy? Of course not! Disney is desperate to keep the Chinese market open to them and selling movies and product there (aside from Xi’s personal nemesis Winnie the Pooh, anyway). Xi should just hire Adande to represent China on these sports shows and just make it official.

The only good news here is that the American people are largely tuning out the Beijing Olympics – which is not good news for NBC.

Now, there are multiple causes for the drop in viewership. NBC is probably loath to admit it, but people are ditching traditional cable for streaming services in order to cut costs and get what they want. While NBC will show the highlights of the Olympic Games in primetime, the live showing of the events on their Peacock streaming service is limited to their “premium” tier. As in, only those paying subscribers will be able to see it live. In this era, the fact that we have the ability to watch the Olympics live, no matter the time zone, should be a draw for viewers. But by locking down the stream to only premium subscribers, NBC is trying to create exclusivity in a media world that will receive the Twitter update on who won the event, and then if they care, will catch up on the highlights on YouTube hours later. And the worst part is, NBC has the exclusive rights to the Olympics for TEN MORE YEARS. They are desperate to draw eyes, but how do they do that when China allows no live audience, and most of the American media coverage, including most of the color commentators, are in Connecticut and not Beijing?

NBC has dug themselves quite a hole between their restrictive coverage, their laser focus on the glossy shell of Chinese authoritarianism covering actual human rights abuses, and the absolute lack of Olympic buzz among the American public. I hope they enjoy the next two weeks of trying to sell the public on these Winter Olympic games.





I was happy to read, via NRO’s Jack Butler, that the ratings for Friday’s opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics were down 43 percent from 2018. Butler cites an article in Axios which notes that ratings for the opening ceremonies in Tokyo last summer were also down, but by only 6 percent.

Thus, Axios’ explanation for the mass tuning out of the China ceremonies — that “broadcast and cable TV viewership has been declining for many years as more people adopt streaming alternatives” — is wide of the mark. So is its other explanation — that a lack of fans in attendance makes watching the Olympics less exciting. There were no fans in Tokyo, either.

Disgust that the Olympics are being held in a genocidal, totalitarian nation is the most plausible explanation for the abysmal ratings, I think. Yet it goes unmentioned by Axios.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post is doing all it can to generate interest in the China Olympics. Today’s sports page contains ten articles about the Games. Six are by Post reporters covering the Olympics from China. Four are from news services.

With so much of the sports page devoted to the Olympics, I was able to get through it in about three minutes, instead of the usual five to ten.


Televised Coverage of Beijing Winter Olympics is a Snow-filled Ratings Bust

By Leslie Eastman | Legal Insurrection


Despite the blizzard of Chinese PR, CCP officials cannot snow potential viewers and have them forget all the damage that nation has done in the past two years.

This past week has been filled with karmic news (CNN’s Jeff Zucker resigningWhoopi Goldberg’s suspension, Meta/Facebook shares plummeting).

It’s as if someone baked a schadenfreude cake and is now dishing it out. And the frosting on that confection is this: The televised Winter Olympics games in Beijing, China, are a ratings bust.

Thursday’s primetime coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics averaged 7.25 million viewers on NBC, marking the smallest primetime Olympic audience ever on the network. The previous low was 8.5 million for the final night of competition at last year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Even including concurrent primetime coverage on USA Network — 512,000 viewers — the average of 7.78 million would still mark an all-time low. An across-all-platforms figure that includes NBC’s various streaming platforms will be provided here when it is available.

…Viewership plunged 55% from NBC’s first night of coverage at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics four years ago (16.00M) and 64% from night one of the Sochi Games in 2014 (20.02M). Keep in mind this is only the third time NBC has aired primetime coverage prior to the Opening Ceremony. The “bonus” night of coverage is typically not factored into NBC’s averages.

There are so many reasons people are opting out of watching, despite the grace of figure skating and the thrills associated with ski competitions.

To begin with, people around the world are still struggling to free themselves from pandemic restrictions caused by a virus that appears to have originated in a Wuhan laboratory and was spread worldwide as a result, at least in part, of the 2019 World Military Games in that city.

The 7th International Military Sports Council Military World Games (MWGs) opened in Wuhan on October 18, 2019. The MWGs in Wuhan drew 9,308 athletes, representing 109 countries, to compete in 329 events across 27 sports. Many of the participating athletes fell ill with various flu-like complaints. Here is a glimpse of the sick athletes and their location in the hospitals…now seeing ill patients.

Evidence from Brazil, Italy, France, and Sweden indicate that the virus circulated in those countries by November and December of 2019, long before China officially admitted they had a significant public health problem. This was likely the global “super-spreader event.” China tried to blame Italy for the virus at one point.

To compound the insult to Americans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted athletes to remain silent about conditions in China, as she was fearful of their safety.

According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the motto of the Beijing Winter Olympics should be “Faster, Higher, Stronger — and Silent.”

The California Democrat reiterated Friday that American athletes should keep any unkind word about China’s repressive Communist government to themselves, repeating an admonition from the previous day.

“As I wish the athletes well, I do not encourage them to speak out against the Chinese government there because I fear for their safety if they do,” Pelosi said Friday, hours after the opening ceremony. “[To] remove all doubt about why I said they shouldn’t speak out, it’s because I fear for their safety.”

The responses to this inanity have been scathing.

Finally, corporate sponsors are afraid of being connected to a regime that is accused of atrocities on its minority populations and other human rights abuses.

The corporate sponsors that typically go big on the Olympics have kept their distance in the run-up amid global condemnation for the host country’s human-rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in far western Xinjiang – which the US state department has labelled a genocide – in addition to the persecution of Tibetans and the repression of Hong Kong’s freedoms. Those thorny geopolitical implications were only underscored when the US, Australia, Britain and Canada announced a diplomatic boycott of the event last month.

Only two of the 20 official Team USA sponsors had aired spots pegged to the Olympics as of Wednesday, according to Reuters, with both focusing on the athletes while downplaying the host nation. That’s a far cry from the flood-the-zone deluge that’s critical to breaking through and building anticipation for athletes and sports that are largely in the public eye only once every four years. Bottom line: many casual sports fans, perhaps thrown off by an Olympics taking place only seven months after the last one due to the coronavirus postponement, are barely aware a Winter Games is even happening.

Beijing laughably had Uyghur cross-country skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang be the last athlete to carry the flame.

For a country that has been condemned for its treatment of the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, the symbolism was impossible to miss.

The lighting of the Olympic cauldron by the final torchbearer has long been a centerpiece of Olympic opening ceremonies and marks the beginning of the Games. It is considered a great honor to be the last athlete to carry the flame.

Despite the blizzard of Chinese PR, CCP officals cannot snow potential viewers and have them forget all the damage that nation has done in the past two years.

I can only hope this is the last Olympic event hosted by this country. I also pray all our athletes come home safely, and free of lab-grown viruses.