C. Douglas Golden, The Western Journal
February 14th, 2022
A highly politicized Olympic Games in a despotic country with a genocide problem on its hands with sparse crowds due to a pandemic that started in said country, which continues to be opaque about the virus’ origins: What could go wrong?
A lot, at least for NBC. The network, which is handling the U.S. coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics, has seen a massive drop in viewership when compared with the 2018 Winter Games.
Even with streaming numbers, network executives are now admitting that “it’s been difficult” and that it’s looking toward future Olympics to salvage its $7.75 billion investment in exclusive broadcast rights through 2032, The Hollywood Reporter reported Friday.
The Western Journal has been chronicling the disaster that the Beijing Games have become long before the repressive propaganda-fest even began. We’ve steadfastly maintained the Games should have never taken place — and, furthermore, that the United States ought to have responded with a full-on boycott. We’ll continue to fight the enemies of freedom, including the Chinese Communist Party. You can help our fight by subscribing.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua acknowledged the ratings had been rough.
“For us, it’s been difficult. There’s no way around this,” Bevacqua said.
“The fact that we’ve been able to bring these Games to life during a pandemic with only a six-month window between the two [Olympics], the ratings are — of course, we always want to have the ratings better — but the ratings for these Games, as I said, are about where we thought they’d be,” he said.
Bevacqua’s expectations were apparently pretty low.
On Sunday, the Daily Mail reported that viewership sat at 13.2 million viewers a day for NBC. That’s well under the 23 million a day that tuned in at this stage during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
While Bevacqua said the media giant had “made real drastic improvements on what we’ve done with Peacock,” NBC’s streaming service, there were plenty of reasons he gave for the dismal numbers.
“It’s no secret that athletes in masks, venues without spectators, so much of the passion and excitement, those great moments of Olympic athletes hugging their family and friends and spouses and partners, so much of that magic is just out of necessity not present,” he said.
“Look at the difference in NFL ratings in ’21 compared to ’20. I think one of the main differences is because in ’20, we didn’t have the passionate NFL fan base in those stadiums adding to the atmosphere. We did our best out of necessity. But this year, those fans were back and the ratings showed that,” he said.
However, Molly Solomon, executive producer of NBC’s Olympics coverage, also acknowledged the political situation wasn’t ideal.
“Going in, we promised ourselves, and we thought it was essential for the viewers, to provide perspective on China’s complicated relationship with the rest of the world,” Solomon said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
This included the host country’s choice of an Uyghur athlete to light the Olympic torch during the opening ceremony.
“Imagine in the moments when we found out that the cauldron lighter was from Xinjiang, and kudos to Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie, to frame that moment, to connect it to all the other perspective we had provided throughout that ceremony,” Solomon said.
“That’s real-time television, a live opening ceremony, and I thought they did an extraordinary job of presenting that moment,” she said.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Daniel Feinberg didn’t agree, it’s worth noting. In a Feb. 4 commentary, he said NBC had decided to “say the bare minimum to keep your audience somewhat informed” about “an unsettling display of Chinese nationalism and high-tech propaganda, this time featuring straight-up genocide denial broadcast around the globe.”
Which apparently hasn’t sat well with viewers.
Bevacqua acknowledged as much without really acknowledging it. Without talking about “China’s complicated relationship with the rest of the world,” he said he was looking forward to getting on with Olympiads that are held in the rest of the world that isn’t China.
“Why I’m energized is I think about where we’re going,” he said before mentioning 2024 Summer Olympics host Paris, 2026 Winter Olympics host Milan, Italy, and 2028 Summer Olympics host Los Angeles.
“And, knock on wood, not just for the Olympics, but for the sake of all of us, hopefully this pandemic is well beyond us by then, we have those spectators back in these venues bursting at the seams, we have those passionate family and friends and athletes without masks hugging each other and celebrating these Olympic achievements,” Bevacqua continued.
“We have our eye on that normalized future coming back into focus as we work our way through this pandemic, so that’s why we’re hopeful.”
Oh, yes, the pandemic — the one that started in Wuhan, China. The country’s leadership has been profoundly opaque when it comes to allowing investigators to look at the origins of that pandemic, caused by a coronavirus closely related to those found in bats. Just coincidentally, there happened to be a lot of research into bat coronaviruses at a research facility there called the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
This, we’ve been told, is nothing but a strange coincidence. If you watch the Games, expect to hear it mentioned even less than you hear Uyghur genocide, human rights violations and nationalist propaganda being mentioned.
Also, don’t expect to hear the threat China poses to global security — particularly involving Taiwan — being mentioned.
Just relax and focus on the skiing. Leave the big thinky-think issues to another day.
Come to think of it, maybe the energy of ignoring the bedrock evil behind this Olympiad is one of the reasons viewers would simply rather tune out the genocide Games. Not masks, not empty stands, not even dystopian venues. And thus, stay away they have — in droves.
Let’s hope the International Olympics Committee learns a lesson from this debacle.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.