Creative Communications

11 August, 2008

NBC’s Xenophobic Olympic Coverage

I don’t know if you’ve had the opportunity to peruse any Olympic coverage on traditional media sources, but the ubiquity of Americans being shown at this international event almost sickens me.


I’ve watched two hours of Olympic coverage, and only TWICE, was a participant from another country identified and given on-screen time. A Chinese swimmer got 15 seconds, a French swimmer was pictured and attributed with some quote about ‘smashing America’. Wonderful.

Oh wait, they did mention something about Japanese people being too short for volleyball….

Beyond the argument that this promotes a self-centered international identity, I am irritated by all this for SEVERAL reasons.

One, the whole POINT of the Olympics is for us to drop our flag waving and come together in the spirit of human achievement. By offering America exclusive coverage of just Americans completely destroys this spirit and replaces it with the mundane ‘we are the best’ competitive mentality that causes no small amount of human suffering around the world.

Two, as a viewer and a citizen in this global community, I want to be exposed to other cultures and see what I have not seen before. I have seen America, not all of it, not even a significant portion of it, but I have not seen China, I have not seen Japan. I want to. I want to know their back stories, their struggles, their triumphs. To let our national pride interfere with our humanity, our interest in the people we share this planet with, is just ego-centric.

Finally, as a student of mass communication, I was taught that it is the role of the media to provide as many angles to a story as possible, so that an informed populace can make decisions. Now today, with the right-wing and left-wing pundits serving as our major media outlets, the bias is apparent. They do our thinking for us by controlling the conversation. Objectivity goes straight out the window.

I would hope that our coverage of a world event is not as one-sided as the advertising permitted within. I would hope that in order to promote an understanding between nations, the major media would step up to their responsibility as information providers, and show us the whole story.

Not just the American version.

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Underemployed, or Do employees dream of contracting?

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