Mike Tirico touched upon the controversies involving China, saying "everyone and everything attached to these games is facing questions" during the Opening Ceremonies on Feb. 4. "But any viewers hoping for further exploration of those 'questions' would probably be disappointed," says Paul Farhi. "NBC, which has paid the International Olympic Committee billions of dollars for the exclusive U.S. television and digital rights to the games, has scarcely broken from its wall-to-wall sports coverage to report on any of the more troubling aspects surrounding China. Since opening day, Tirico and NBC’s other hosts haven’t said another word about the diplomatic boycott (which India has also joined) or a long list of other issues, such the Chinese government’s oppression in Tibet, its crackdown in Hong Kong, its threats to invade Taiwan, its aggression in the South China Sea, or its lack of cooperation in international efforts to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Nor — besides brief mentions — has the network delved into issues specific to the Olympics, such as China’s surveillance of athletes, or government threats to punish those who speak out during the Games. NBC also hasn’t explained why the IOC awarded the games to Beijing in the first place, just 14 years after the city hosted the Summer Olympics. (Short answer: Beijing was one of only two cities to guarantee funding for its bid.)" Farhi adds that NBC's avoidance of "the issues surrounding the host nation is striking, given that these Olympics may be among the most controversial and politically loaded in recent Olympic history."
TOPICS: Winter Olympics, NBC, Mike Tirico, Chinese government, NBC Sports